Precision Aircraft Solutions and Air Transport Services Group have established 321 Precision Conversions, a joint-venture company which will develop a passenger-to-freighter conversion of the Airbus A321-200.
According to the two companies, the approval of a supplemental type certificate for A321-200 conversions is expected in 2019.
The A321-200 freighter will be able to fulfil both replacement and growth needs in the narrowbody freighter market and is particularly attractive for air express network operators. It is capable of delivering cube space which matches that of the Boeing 757 freighter and offers low operating costs similar to those of 737 freighters.
“Precision’s integrated business model is capable of both the engineering and certification required for an A321-200 freighter STC, and the kitting, logistics, production and customer support functions to deliver a multiple-aircraft programme to all its customers,” said Steven J. Thomas, president of PAS parent Erickson Group Ltd. “This strategic alliance with ATSG for the A321-200 programme underscores our complementary business models and our long history of positive business dealings over the years. We look forward to bringing this product to the market together.”
PAS and ATSG already have a long-term relationship. PAS redelivered the first of four converted 757-200PCF freighters to ATSG subsidiary Cargo Aircraft Management, Inc. in 2007. In 2011, PAS also developed, certified and produced a 757-200PCC combi variant for CAM. All the 757-200s are operated by Air Transport International, Inc., sister company of CAM.
“ATSG’s emphasis on leasing, operating and maintaining mid-size freighters has been a key to its success, said Joe Hete, president and CEO of ATSG. “Expanding our fleet to include A321-200 freighters in that segment of the market through this new partnership with Precision will supplement the shareholder value we create in the future. Our decade-long relationship with Precision for 757 conversions gives me confidence that we will bring to market another high-quality, cost-effective freighter and reliable asset to a customer segment that demands very high performance.”
Airbus subsidiary Elbe Flugzeugwerke launched its A321 conversion programme with 14 pallet positions in May 2017.
The first A321-200 entered service in 1997 and there are now more than 1,400 in operation around the world.