Elbe Flugzeugwerke, the joint venture between ST Aerospace and Airbus, has secured a launch contract from Vallair Solutions Sàrl for its A321 Passenger-to-Freighter (P2F) conversion.
“We are pleased to have Vallair as our launch customer for our A321P2F solution, which we believe will play a lead role in the narrowbody freighter segment,” said Andreas Sperl [second from right in photo], CEO of EFW. “Together with our parent company, ST Aerospace and its global network of maintenance facilities, we are confident we will achieve the high standards of service we have demonstrated over the years on all of our other conversion programmes, and deliver to Vallair on time, on budget and to their full satisfaction.”
Under the contract, EFW will convert 10 A321-200s into a 14-pallet cargo configuration for Vallair. The first aircraft will be inducted in the final quarter of 2018 and is scheduled for redelivery by the end of 2019.
“My personal history with the A321 goes way back to the start of my career with Air France when it first introduced this aircraft in its fleet,” said Gregoire Lebigot [centre in photo], president and CEO of Vallair. “At Vallair, through years of trading and supporting the A320 family, we have built a solid technical competence on this aircraft type. Today, we see a huge potential in the A321P2F, not only as a replacement of the B757 freighter, 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. The A321P2F will be the first aircraft to introduce a containerized lower deck to the market segment of narrowbody freighters – a significant game changer for any hub and spoke operation.”
The A321P2F conversion offers up to 14 container positions on the main deck and up to 10 on the lower deck. The aircraft is capable of carrying up to 27.9 tonnes over a range of 2,300 nautical miles.
“As the e-commerce and express market continues to grow, our investments in new freighter conversion programmes will allow us to seize the opportunities created by the uptick in freighter demand,” said Lim Serh Ghee [second from left in photo], president of ST Aerospace. “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 programme, to provide customers with a range of options to select from in support of their diverse operational needs.”
The A321/A320 P2F conversion programme was launched in 2015. ST Aerospace is responsible for the engineering development phase up to obtaining the Supplemental Type Certificate from the European Aviation Safety Agency and the US Federal Aviation Administration. Airbus contributes to the programme with original equipment manufacturer data and certification support, while EFW leads the overall programme and marketing and sales.
“We are delighted to see the A320/A321 P2F project – the only A320 Family freighter conversion programme co-developed with Airbus – move up a gear with this important order from Vallair,” said Christopher Buckley [left in photo], executive vice president of Europe, Africa and Pacific at Airbus. “This milestone affirms our view, coupled with the positive feedback from the market, that the A321P2F is the only viable successor to the 757 freighter over the coming years.”
In October 2017, Vallair became the launch customer for the conversion of the Airbus A321 passenger to cargo program. 321 Precision Conversions
Vallair, an aviation company with business units in trading and leasing, aircraft teardown, aircraft MRO and paint, engines, aerostructures and cargo conversions, also became the launch customer for the A321 passenger-to-freighter conversion programme by 321 Precision Conversions in October 2017.