Lessor AerCap Holdings N.V. (AerCap) has placed firm orders for 15 Airbus A321P2F aircraft conversions and an option for another 15 A321P2F conversions with Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW). Dublin-based AerCap is the world’s largest owner of the A320 family of aircraft. So the feedstock for the conversions will come from the lessor’s own portfolio of jetliners.
Triggered is the deal by the burgeoning market demand for freighters, including smaller ones like the P2F converted A321. Touching the performance, converter EFW points out that the A321P2F is a
next-generation freighter and 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). With a gross payload capability of up to 28 metric tons (about 61,800 lbs) and a range of more than 2,300 nautical miles (about 4,260 kilometers), “the A321P2F is the ideal
narrowbody freighter aircraft for express domestic and regional operations,” highlights Elbe Flugzeugwerke in its announcement. Therefore, it can be expected that most of the AerCap A321P2Fs
will be seen in DHL, UPS, ASL, or FedEx colors one day. However, the name of the future operator or operators, in case it’ll be more than one, is not revealed by AerCap.
Will DHL be the operator?
“Extending the life of our A321 fleet will complement the Cargo portfolio and meet the strong demand from our diverse customer base, from which we’ve seen a significant appetite for this freighter,” said Rich Greener, Head of AerCap Cargo. He went on to say: “The A321 freighter is the best-in-class and most fuel-efficient aircraft to replace the B757-200 freighter. This transaction is in line with our cargo portfolio strategy of diversifying our fleet with improved economics and returns. We look forward to working with the EFW team on this program and thank them for the trust they have placed in AerCap.”
This statement is likely to fuel speculation that DHL Express is the future operator. This is because the Integrator’s fleet of Leipzig-based B757 freighters is approaching the operational age limit and needs to be replaced by more modern and fuel-efficient freighter aircraft. But there is no confirmation for this.
“We are glad that we may finally announce the agreement with AerCap on this volume order for A321P2F conversions,” says Jordi Boto, CEO of EFW. “Our young A320P2F family programme has gone from strength to strength and gained traction very quickly in the market with a dozen aircraft already in operation.”
Presumably, converter EFW will not really care about the livery displayed on the fuselages of A321s following their upcoming new lives as freighters. “We are glad that we may finally announce the agreement with AerCap on this volume order for A321P2F conversions,” says Jordi Boto, CEO of EFW. “Our young A320P2F family program has gone from strength to strength and gained traction very quickly in the market with a dozen aircraft already in operation.”
Growing network of Airbus P2F converters
EFW’s A321P2F program is developed in collaboration with ST Engineering and Airbus, with EFW holding the Supplemental Type Certificate and steering the overall conversion program as well as marketing & sales efforts.
To meet the rising demand for freighter conversions, ST Engineering and EFW have set up new conversion sites in China and the U.S. to ramp up total conversion capacity for all their Airbus P2F programmes comprising the A330P2F, A320P2F and A321P2F. Because of fast growing demand and limited own capacity the company.
In addition, they started conversion programs with third party MRO companies. So recently done for A330P2F programs with Istanbul-based Turkish Technic.
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