Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW), the joint-venture between ST Aerospace (55%) and Airbus (45%), has secured a launch contract from Vallair Solutions Sàrl (Vallair) for its A321 passenger-to-freighter conversion.
EFW will convert ten A321-200 passenger aircraft in to a 14-pallet cargo configuration for Vallair. The first jet will undergo modification during the last quarter of this year and will be redelivered to the Luxembourg-based carrier at the end of 2019.
Gregoire Lebigot, President and CEO of Vallair, remarked: “My personal history with the A321 goes way back to the start of my career with Air France when the type was introduced into the fleet. At Vallair, through years of trading and supporting the A320 Family, we have built a solid technical competence on this aircraft. Today, we see a huge potential in the A321P2F, not only as a replacement of the Boeing 757F, but as a key tool for the cargo industry to achieve its projected growth. The A321P2F will be the first aircraft to introduce a containerised lower deck to this market segment of narrowbody freighters and will be a significant game changer of any hub and spoke operation.”
The A321 and A320P2F conversion programmes were launched at the Paris Air Show in 2015. ST Aerospace is responsible for the engineering development phase up to the supplemental type certificate (STC) approval by EASA and the FAA. Airbus contributes with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) data and certification support, while EFW leads the overall programme as well as the marketing and sales. The A321P2F conversion will offer containerised loading in both the main deck (14 positions) and lower deck (ten positions) and will have a capacity to carry 27.9 tonnes over 2,300nm (4,260km) ranges.