First A321 Freighter Takes To The Skies, Flying For Qantas Freight

  • The first A321P2F (passenger-to-freighter) conversion has taken to the skies thanks to a joint venture between Airbus and ST Engineering.
  • The aircraft was converted for Vallair and is being leased on Qantas Freight.
  • The joint venture responsible for the conversion is also looking into the development of an A320P2F.
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Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW), a joint venture created by Airbus and Singapore Technologies Engineering, has delivered its first A321P2F (passenger-to-freighter) conversion to aviation leasing company Vallair. The freighter registered as VH-ULD is being leased to Qantas Freight, and will operate on behalf of Australia Post.

The 22-year-old aircraft previously operated in a passenger capacity, flying for British Midland Airways, Air 2000, Onur Air, and Zagrosjet before finding a new “lease” on life as a freighter.

Photo: Airbus

EFW received Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the A321P2F from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in February this year, and the Validation STC from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in July. The aircraft also underwent operator-specific enhancements before being certified and delivered to Vallair.

Andreas Hermann, VP Asset Management at Airbus and member of the EFW shareholder committee said: “We are very pleased to see the A321P2F programme entering service. The Airbus A321 is the platform which, by design, will offer the best economics, cargo capacity and performance in the Single-Aisle freighter segment going forward. For any asset owner this will provide an excellent opportunity to leverage future growth and replacement waves, underpinning the already great value proposition of the A321 today.”

Photo: Airbus

In terms of capacity, the A321P2F has the option to carry containerized units in both the main (14 units) and lower (10 units) decks, creating up to 28 metric tonnes of cargo capacity with a range of up to 2,300 nautical miles.

The conversion features a large main cargo door which is hydraulically actuated and electrically locked, a ‘Class-E’ main-deck cargo compartment with full rigid 9g barrier for optimal protection between crew and cargo, and a redefined flight deck that includes supernumerary seats.

As demand for passenger aircraft has fallen, EFW is looking to take advantage of the situation and is setting its sights on an A320P2F variant as well.

[Featured Photo: Airbus]

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