BERLIN: One of Lufthansa’s Airbuses A350-900 is undergoing an extensive conversion programme, being fitted with equipment to enable the twinjet to operate as the carrier’s latest climate research platform.
German flag carrier Lufthansa says it will be transformed into a “flying research laboratory” by modification specialist venture Lufthansa Technik Malta.
The work in a hangar in Malta already started, as per reports. The country's largest airline preparations were made on the lower fuselage for a "complex air intake system".
The centerpiece of the flying research laboratory would be a 1.6-tone container with measuring equipment.
The research aircraft is expected to take off from Munich at the end of 2021 for its "first flight in the service of climate research", measuring around 100 different trace gases, aerosol and cloud parameters at an altitude of 9-12 km, according to Lufthansa.
The conversion of the Airbus A350-900 which was named "Erfurt" was preceded by a planning and development phase of around four years involving more than ten companies as well as the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) as representative of a larger scientific consortium, according to Lufthansa.