SOUTHERN AIR Transport (SAT) is developing a passenger/cargo "combi" modification for the Lockheed Martin L-100 Hercules transport, for relief and other missions when a combination of people and freight needs to be carried.

Hondo, Texas-based Knight Aerospace is performing and certificating the modification, says SAT president Bill Langton.

The conversion involves the installation of a 19-passenger cargo-hold module complete with lavatory and galley. Aircraft modification will take eight weeks: installing or removing the module will then take 2-3h. The Miami, Florida-based cargo airline plans to modify six of its 15 L-100s to combi capability.

Langton says that there has long been a demand for a combi Hercules. Likely missions include flights in support of construction and oil-exploration projects, when both equipment and crews need to be transported.

SAT says that the aircraft modification will increase the flexibility of its L-100s, which also have the capability for oil-spill and pest-control spraying and relief air drops.

SAT is moving its headquarters from Miami, where it was founded in 1947, to Rickenbacker International Airport in Ohio. Langton says that the relocation is a strategic move to position the airline as a major US distributor.

The move is linked to the company's plans to increase its Boeing 747-200 freighter fleet, presently three aircraft, to "nine to ten" by the end of the decade. Two more aircraft will be delivered this month.

Source: Flight International