Indian carrier IndiGo has taken delivery of its first freighter in a bid to further expand its cargo business.
The A321 freighter aircraft was converted from a passenger jet to a full freighter configuration and will be used for both domestic and international flights, transporting products such as valuables, express shipments, perishables, general cargo and documents.
IndiGo leased the aircraft from funds serviced by Castlelake Aviation Holdings (Ireland) Limited, part of a global alternative investment firm with 17 years of tenure investing in, financing and managing aviation assets.
"We are pleased to receive our first A321 freighter aircraft in 6E fleet. CarGo has always been a success story for us especially highlighted during the pandemic," said Mahesh Malik, chief commercial officer-CarGo, IndiGo. "The CarGo business brought in revenues when the scheduled commercial flights were at a standstill."
Malik noted that its partnership with Airbus for the Freighter programme will further help strengthen our business in the "CarGo" segment and act as a strong engine of economic growth for the country.
"We remain optimistic on the future of Indian aviation, clearly, and the place of CarGo within it – and the expansion into a true freighter fleet is a testament of this confidence," the IndiGo executive added.
The A321P2F (Passenger-to-Freighter conversion) is a narrow-bodied freight offering 24 container positions and supporting a payload of up to 27 tonnes.
These are being converted through a programme involving ST Engineering and Airbus with their joint venture, Elbe FlugzeugWerke (EFW).