Lufthansa Technik changes first passenger A380 jet to move cargo

(Reuters) - Germany's Lufthansa Technik AG [LUFT.UL] said on Tuesday it is modifying its first Airbus AIR.PA A380 superjumbo jet to move cargo, as the coronavirus crisis fuels a global scramble for capacity to transport medical supplies and other goods.

Lufthansa Technik, a subsidiary of the German airline Lufthansa LHAG.DE, would not disclose the name of the A380 customer in a statement.

Half of air cargo normally travels in the belly of passenger jets rather than dedicated freighters. But the grounding of two-thirds of the world’s fleet has led to demand for cargo.

As a result, Lufthansa Technik and other aircraft maintenance and engineering companies are seeing a windfall of new work, Reuters reported last week.

Since regulators have said passenger cabins are not designed for cargo, special temporary permission is needed.

The A380, the world’s largest passenger airliner, is being retired by carriers and will cease being produced by Airbus in 2021.

Reporting By Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by Steve Orlofsky