World’s first A320P2F makes its maiden flight
Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW), the joint venture created by Airbus and ST Engineering has achieved the first flight of the A320 Passenger-to-Freighter aircraft, the A320P2F. The flight took place earlier today at ST’s facilities in Seletar Aerospace Park in Singapore and follows the conversion to freighter configuration, which commenced there in March this year. The A320P2F complements EFW’s current line-up of freighter converted Airbus aircraft which are in service today, including the A321P2F, A330-300P2F and A330-200P2F.
Over the next few weeks, MSN2737, originally a passenger-carrying A320-200, will prepare for its ‘new life’ by undergoing a series of flight-tests which will culminate in the issuance to EFW by EASA of the aircraft’s Supplemental-Type-Certificate (STC). It will subsequently be leased by ST Engineering Aerospace Resources (STEAR), the aviation leasing arm of ST Engineering, to Vaayu Group. Its re-entry into service as a freighter is scheduled to commence in 2022. Vaayu revealed last month that it will lease five A320P2Fs from STEAR.
With a cargo capacity of 10 ULD containers + one pallet position on the main deck, and seven ULD containers on the lower deck, the A320P2F offers significantly more payload and containerised volume than its closest competitor, as well as having the lowest fuel burn in its class. This freighter solution offers 21 tonnes of payload over 1.800nm and up to 2.560nm with 17 tonnes, making it the ideal narrowbody freighter aircraft in all established general freight and express markets. Operators will also benefit from the A320/321P2F’s fly-by-wire cockpit commonality with the A330 widebody family of passenger and freighter aircraft.
Notable features of the A320P2F conversion include: a main-deck cargo door in the forward fuselage on the left side - this is hydraulically actuated and electrically locked and measuring 142” width and 85” height; a 9G rigid cargo barrier with a lightweight and durable design for optimal usage of available space; a light-weight cargo lining; a manually operated cargo loading system with full support of industry standard narrowbody ULDs; reinforced floor panels & floor grid to cater for higher running loads; and a Class-E cargo compartment fully meeting the industry requirements.
According to Airbus’ Global Market Forecast there will be a need for around 2.440 widebody and single-aisle freighters for growth and replacement during the next 20 years. Of this total demand, around 1.000 will be passenger-to-freighter converted single-aisle freighters such as the A320P2F and A321P2F.