A320 / A321 Freighter Conversion Program Launched

Aircraft manufacturer Airbus together with Singapore’s ST Aerospace and Germany-based aircraft converter EFW (in Dresden) have decided to offer passenger-to-freighter (P2F) conversions of the A320 / A321 production series. The deal was concluded today (17 June) at the Paris Air Show.

Animated P2C converted A321 and A320 aircraft  /  courtesy Airbus
Animated P2C converted A321 and A320 aircraft / courtesy Airbus

According to Airbus, there is a significant market demand for more than 600 aircraft over the next 20 years for P2F aircraft conversions in the small freighter segment. The A320P2F, with eleven main-deck container positions, will be capable of carrying 21 metric tons over 2,100nm, while the A321P2F with 14 main-deck positions will be able to carry up to 27 tons over 1,900nm. The first converted A321P2F will be delivered in 2018. People close to the case informed CargoForwarder Global that the first customer is Egypt Air.

ST Aerospace becomes a majority shareholder in EFW
Part of the agreement is a change of EFW’s shareholder structure. Currently, Airbus is a majority shareholder at the Dresden-based conversion specialist together with its partner and co-owner ST Aerospace. In order to implement the new business line for A320 / A321 P2F aircraft, ST Aerospace will provide its specially developed conversion technology and obtain another 20 percent of EFW’s shares, thus increasing its stake in EFW to 55 percent. Subsequently, Airbus Group will become a minority partner in EFW, reducing its share to 45 percent.

Excellent workhorses
Serh Ghee Lim, President of ST Aerospace said: "ST Aerospace is pleased to include this new alliance which will extend our conversion portfolio and enhance our value-added proposition to customers worldwide." He continued: "The A320P2F and the A321P2F will be excellent workhorses which offer aircraft operators great value and efficiency."

Airbus COO Tom Williams added this: “The A320/A321 P2F is the only A320 freighter conversion program supported by Airbus, and as such will benefit greatly from our native design knowledge of the aircraft, our engineering know-how, as well as the extensive operational experience from the thousands of Airbus single-aisle aircraft in service today.” He added: “We are therefore confident this will be the best solution for freight operators and we are pleased to work with EFW and ST Aerospace to make it happen.”

EFW’s Dresden-based management team will continue to be led by President and CEO Andreas Sperl and will ensure sustainable growth of the Airbus P2F freighter family while strengthening EFW’s position as a global Airbus conversion supplier. In addition, the operation will secure valuable jobs in the Dresden area. 
The A320/A321 conversion program was expected to start some time ago but had to be postponed various times due to the ongoing high utilization of these Airbus single-aisle variants by their (passenger) operators. 

Heiner Siegmund  /  Michael Taweel

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Comments: 2
  • #1

    Ronald Aarsen (Thursday, 18 June 2015 22:49)

    According to Airbus, there is a significant market demand for more than 600 aircraft over the next 20 years for P2F aircraft conversions in the small freighter segment, but not Air France/KLM, they are reducing their full freighter fleet.

  • #2

    Heiner Siegmund (Friday, 19 June 2015 10:54)

    Ronald
    Thx for delivering your view.
    You are abolutely right. AF-KL decided to gradually stepping out of all-cargo ops.
    In contrast, competitors like ABC, QR Cargo, TK Cargo and others decided to up their freighter fleets.
    Presumably, this shift of capacity will lead to a shift of cargo flows to the detriment of those who decided to get rid of maindeck capacity.
    Greetings, Heiner