Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW), a joint venture of Singapore-based ST Engineering and aircraft manufacturer Airbus, announced today (16AUG21) an order placed by U.S. lessor BBAM for converting 20 Airbus A320/A321 Passenger-to-Freighter aircraft, including further options. The conversions are carried out at the ST Engineering MRO shops in Singapore, China and the USA. The entire program will be coordinated by Dresden, Germany-based EFW that develops the construction plans for each individual conversion candidate.
Following a recent BBAM order to convert 2 A321-200 passenger aircraft into freighter configuration that will be leased by Lufthansa Cargo after completion, EFW and BBAM have inked an agreement
on a significantly larger conversion package. The new order by BBAM brings the total number of its A320/A321P2F to no less than 20, with the conversions to be accomplished by ORM facilities in
the Far East and the USA belonging to ST Engineering.
Large work package
According to the contract, the entire order is to be completed by 2025. In addition, the accord includes the option to add new conversion slots every year from 2026 onwards, including conversions completed at EFW’s Dresden hangar.
“Including this latest order, BBAM is now the largest aircraft lessor for the A320/A321P2F program, and one of the top P2F customers of EFW,” notes Andreas Sperl, Chief Executive Officer of EFW.
The manager went on to say: “The order volume by BBAM translates into a full conversion line with a minimum of five slots per year. When combined with top-notch conversion standards, our A321P2F solution offers unique benefits for air freight activities, including best-in-class economics, reduced noise, lower carbon footprint, real-time health monitoring and the highest level in reliability.”
Green and innovative solution
Steve Zissis, President and Chief Executive Officer of BBAM emphasizes mainly commercial and environmental reasons for awarding the contract to EFW / ST Engineering: “Our commitment to the P2F program demonstrates our confidence in the ability of EFW and ST Engineering to deliver long-term value enhancement for the A320s and A321s in our fleet,” the BBAM chief stated.
“We have committed to the A320/A321P2F program well into the future – beyond 2026 – because we see it as a greener and highly innovative solution for our airline customers, and an excellent way to drive value for our investors."
Conversions of A321 passenger aircraft to freighters have only recently been made. In January this year, BBAM announced the delivery of the world’s first Airbus A321P2F on lease to Titan Airways.
In their joint announcement EFW, ST Engineering and partner BBAM claim that the P2F conversions of the Airbus variants A320/A321P2F is a technological breakthrough given that it is the first in its size category to offer containerized loading in both the main deck (up to 14 full container positions) and lower deck (up to 10 container positions).
EFW’s A320/A321P2F solution, which comes with optimized weight distribution to enable random loading even on empty flights, as well as a payload-range capability of more than 28 metric tons, accords high flexibility for operators, in particular integrators. “Being the only OEM solution for the Airbus A320/A321P2F conversion in the market also ensures that EFW’s program has greater lifecycle value and superiority in quality, reliability and ease of maintenance,” reads the release.
Only recently, Cargo Aircraft Management (CAM), the leasing arm of Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) has secured twenty A330 conversion slots with Elbe Flugzeugwerke.
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