SINGAPORE: Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW), the aircraft conversion joint venture of ST Aerospace and Airbus, is to convert 10 A321 passenger aircraft to 14-pallet freighters for Luxembourg-based Vallair Solutions.
The first aircraft will enter EFW’s Dresden facility in the last quarter of 2018, for scheduled redelivery by the end of 2019.
The A321P2F conversion program offers containerized loading in both the main deck and lower deck (up to 10 container positions) to carry up to 27.9 tonnes over 2,300 nautical miles.
“Today, we see a huge potential in the A321 P2F, not only as a replacement of the B757F, but as a key tool for the cargo industry to achieve the projected growth rate of the air freight market in general – in particular driven by express services and e-commerce,” said Vallair president and CEO Gregoire Lebigot.
“The A321 P2F will be the first aircraft to introduce a containerized lower deck to the market segment of narrow body freighters: a significant game changer for any hub and spoke operation,” he added.
Christopher Buckley, Airbus EVP Europe, Africa and Pacific said the order affirmed his company’s view that the A321P2F “is the only viable successor to the B757 freighter over the coming years”.
President of ST Aerospace Lim Serh Ghee added: “As the e-commerce and express market continue to grow, our investments in new freighter conversion programs will allow us to seize the opportunities created by the uptick in freighter demand. While offering a strong proposition with its unique container position in the lower deck, the A321P2F will also complement our other freighter solutions such as the mid-sized A330P2F program.”
EFW redelivered its first A330-300 freighter conversion to DHL in December last year.
Vallair operates six business units – trading & leasing, aircraft teardown, aircraft MRO and paint, engines, aerostructures, and cargo conversions – to help aircraft operators and owners extend the life of their assets.