Air Transport Services Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATSG) announced today that its leasing subsidiary Cargo Aircraft Management has begun its first Airbus A321 aircraft for passenger-to-freighter conversion. PEMCO Conversions, a division of wholly owned ATSG subsidiary Pemco World Air Services, Inc., inducted the aircraft today for conversion at its Tampa, Fla. facility.

The aircraft will undergo the A321-200PCF freighter conversion developed by 321 Precision Conversions, a joint venture of ATSG and Oregon-based Precision Aircraft Solutions. The supplemental type certificate (STC) for the conversion received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration in April 2021.

“The induction of this aircraft is significant because it encapsulates the execution of our strategy to offer 360 degrees of service for the aircraft we lease,” said Rich Corrado, president and chief executive officer of ATSG. “We are able to purchase a passenger aircraft, convert it to freighter configuration in-house using the STC developed through our joint venture, then lease it to a customer along with options for ongoing maintenance support, ground support and airport operations, and CMI services for seamless, turn-key operation. This convenient bundled services approach allows our customers to introduce new aircraft quickly to meet the demands of the growing e-commerce segment.”

The A321-200PCF delivers the highest available payload with unmatched versatility, offering the flexible TELAIR main deck cargo loading system and a lower lobe compatible with bulk, sliding carpet, or containerized systems. It has an operating empty weight over 2,000 lb (900 kg) lighter than its closest rival and has been optimized for maximum revenue loads, profitability, fuel efficiency, and room for supernumeraries.

“The A321-200PCF is very well suited for global air-express service and e-commerce fulfillment over shorter routes,” said Mike Berger, chief commercial officer of ATSG. “It combines next generation efficiency with best-in-platform cargo capacity, crew amenities, and efficiency. It represents an opportunity for Boeing 757 operators to modernize their fleet, offering, for example, a 13 percent improvement in fuel efficiency over a Boeing 757-200 series freighter. Additionally, switching to the A321-200PCF allows operators of the Boeing 737-800 to expand their air cargo capacity to meet additional market demand.”

CAM’s first A321-200PCF conversions are under LOI to Malaysia-based Raya Airways, which provides air cargo service to more than 10 locations across the Asia-Pacific region.