Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW), the joint venture between ST Aerospace and Airbus, announced on 7 February that it has secured a launch contract from Vallair for its A321 passenger-to-freighter (P2F) conversion solution.
The Germany-based aerospace company will convert 10 A321-200 passenger aircraft to a 14-pallet cargo configuration for Vallair. The first aircraft will be admitted in the last quarter of 2018, scheduled for redelivery by end of 2019.
Vallair’s CEO Gregoire Lebigot commented that they 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 driven by express services and e-commerce. 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 operation.
The A321 & A320 P2F conversion programs, launched in 2015, are the result of a collaboration between ST Aerospace, Airbus and EFW. ST Aerospace is responsible for the engineering development phase, Airbus contributes to the program with Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) data and certification support, while EFW leads the overall program and marketing & sales.
The A321P2F conversion program is the first in its size category to offer containerized loading in both the main deck (up to 14 container positions) and lower deck (up to 10 container positions). With a generous payload-range capability that can carry up to 27.9 metric tons over 2,300 nautical miles, the A321P2F is the ideal narrow-body freighter aircraft for express domestic and regional operations.
Other P2F solutions that ST Aerospace and EFW have in their family of Airbus freighters include the A330 which has two variants – the A330-200P2F and the larger A330-300P2F. EFW redelivered the first A330-300 freighter in December 2017 following the successful completion of test flights in October and awarding of the Supplemental Type Certificate by the European Aviation Safety Agency in November.