Avocet Aviation Services (“Avocet”) announced that it has been awarded and begun work on the industry’s first Airbus A321 passenger-to-freighter conversion solution involving the development of the first cargo door prototype.
The contract was awarded to Avocet by 321 Precision Conversions, LLC (“Precision”), an international leader in aircraft modifications based in Portland, Oregon.
“The rise in aging fleets has created an increasing demand for conversions as the market seeks new ways to protect, preserve and extend the life of its current assets in effective and profitable ways,” said Patrick Arellano Sr., CEO, Avocet Aviation Services. “We are honored to have been selected by Precision for this important industry-leading program and look forward to utilizing the full breadth of our 25+ years of experience in maintenance and modification services, along with the stellar talents of our accomplished and adaptive team of technicians and engineers in support of this program as the conversion market continues to grow.”
“The continued demand for converted narrow body freighters is unprecedented and fueled by a combination of asset replacements, new entrant lift providers and market growth as the E commerce demand for time sensitive cargo lift continues,” said Precision’s President, Gary Warner. “We are looking forward to developing this historic prototype and working with Avocet to produce high quality and reliable A321 freighters.”
In addition to its capabilities and expertise in maintenance and modifications, Avocet, which is performing the A321 prototype conversion at its 55,000 square foot facility at Orlando-Sanford International Airport in Florida, is also uniquely qualified for the assignment as a result of a cargo door conversion Supplemental Type Certificate that it developed and now owns, along with several cargo door conversions that it has performed in the past.
The Precision program represents the first Airbus A321 aircraft to undergo a conversion from passenger configuration to cargo. The A321 fleet continues to grow with more than 1,600 aircraft in active service worldwide. The potential size of the conversion market for this model aircraft alone is sizable, once the first prototype has been completed and certified. Initially, Avocet is assigned to work on the cargo door conversion prototype, with as many as five additional aircraft to follow. The multi-phase project is due to be completed in 2019. Avocet, which will work on the prototype project through to FAA and EASA certification, is the only MRO provider in the world that has been chosen to start on this program, and will be the first to market, once complete.