The first passenger to freighter (P2F) conversion in the US started today with the slot in into the hangar at ST Engineering's airframe maintenance and modifications facilities in San Antonio, Texas. VT San Antonio Aerospace has a strong reputation for highest-quality MRO services for cargo operators and commercial airlines for nearly 2 decades. Together with the support by Elbe Flugzeugwerke GmbH (EFW) the companies OEM solution for A321 conversions will be realized at VT SAA.
As one of many more to come the first ‘made in the U.S.A.’ A321P2F will be re-delivered to customer GTLK Europe. GTLK Europe is a top-tier global leasing company based in Dublin, Ireland, and has a fleet over 70 aircraft worth more than 2.4 billion USD. The first freighter out of the U.S. will be operated by SmartLynx with entry into service (EIS) of this A321P2F in summer 2022.
The A321P2F is the first in its size category to offer containerised loading in both the main (up to 14 full container positions) and lower deck (up to 10 container positions). EFW’s A321P2F solution has a generous and proven gross payload of over 28 metric tons, with further upside potential in future conversions. The solution, which comes with optimised weight distribution to enable empty flights and random loading, accords high flexibility for operators, in particular express carriers. The fact that EFW’s programme is the only OEM solution for A321P2F in the market also ensures lifecycle value, given its superiority in quality, reliability and ease of maintenance.
EFW is experiencing a strong market demand in all recent Airbus conversion programs and is working on the ramp up of several modification sites worldwide. We are increasing our conversion capacity for A321P2F and A330P2F such that we will be able to induct over 60 aircraft for conversions per year for the P2F programs by 2024, compared with just under 20 conversions we can carry out currently. As the STC (Supplemental type certificate) holder EFW has overall responsibilities, e.g. like for the Marketing & Sales program, engineering solution including adaptive design solutions for every single aircraft, customer support point of contact as well as providing service, training and special conversion tooling for the modification sites.
Together with San Antonio, for the A321P2F there are now three conversion sites in place. In Singapore at ST Engineering, the Head of Version was converted with EIS in September 2020. In China, Guangzhou a further airframe facility was ramped up in December 2020. So far, five A321P2F have been re-delivered and beyond further A321 aircraft currently in conversion world’s first A320P2F is in progress, too.