World’s first A321P2F enters into service
ST Engineering, Airbus and their joint venture, Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW) achieved a key milestone in their joint A321 passenger-to-freighter (P2F) conversion programme in September this year with the re-delivery of the ‘head of version’ to launch customer, Vallair.
The A321 converted freighter, operated by Qantas for Australia Post, entered into service on 27th October 2020. Both milestones marked the completion and ‘birth’ of the world’s first A321 converted freighter. EFW had received the original 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 U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in July. Operator specific enhancements were subsequently incorporated into the freighter and certified prior to its re-delivery.
Mr Jeffrey Lam, President of ST Engineering’s Aerospace sector, said, “Through our collaboration with the OEM, Airbus, we have been able to develop a high performance product and obtain the original STC from EASA within a week from completing the flight tests, all within schedule and maintaining our high standards in safety and quality. The completion of our first A321P2F also comes at a timely manner, as the programme can help airlines breathe a second life into underutilised aircraft, which would otherwise suffer a harder landing in their residual value. With the A321P2F platform being the best-in-class for its size category – having 55% more volumetric capacity than its nearest competitor – we are confident that the programme will be a great success in the freighter market.”
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 narrowbody 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."
“We are excited to welcome this newest member A321P2F, which is the result of a successful collaboration with ST Engineering and Airbus, into our suite of Airbus freighter conversions,” says Andreas Sperl, CEO of EFW. “Given the outstanding performance of this freighter, we are confident that the A321P2F will be a game changer in the freighter market.”
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). With a generous payload-range capability that can above 28 metric tons (more than 61,800 lbs) over 2,300 nautical miles, the A321P2F is the ideal narrowbody freighter aircraft for express domestic and regional operations. The conversion features a large main cargo door which is hydraulically actuated and electrically locked, a Class E cargo compartment with full rigid 9g barrier for optimal protection between crew and cargo, and a redefined flight deck that includes supernumerary seats and a new lavatory.
The collaboration between ST Engineering, Airbus and EFW is the only OEM solution for A321P2F in the market. EFW, which is leading the overall programme as well as marketing & sales efforts, has been seeing a keen interest in the solution, which is expected to further grow with the first A321P2F unit entering the market. To meet rising demand for dedicated freighter aircraft, ST Engineering and EFW are planning to set up additional modification sites in China, Germany and the U.S. by 2023 to ramp up conversion capacity to about 23 slots per year.
ST Engineering is a global technology, defence and engineering group specialising in the aerospace, electronics, land systems and marine sectors. The Group employs about 23,000 people across offices in Asia, U.S., Europe and the Middle East, serving customers in the defence, government and commercial segments in more than 100 countries. With more than 700 smart city projects across 130 cities in its track record, the Group continues to help transform cities through its suite of Smart Mobility, Smart Security and Smart Environment solutions. Headquartered in Singapore, ST Engineering reported revenue of $7.9b in FY2019 and it ranks among the largest companies listed on the Singapore Exchange. It is a component stock of the FTSE Straits Times Index, MSCI Singapore, SGX ESG Transparency Index and SGX ESG Leaders Index.
The Aerospace sector provides integrated aerospace services and solutions through a global network of facilities and affiliates in the U.S., Asia Pacific and Europe, supporting a broad customer base that comprises leading airlines, airfreight operators and armed forces. Its wide spectrum of maintenance and engineering solutions include airframe, engine and component maintenance, repair and overhaul; original equipment manufacturing solutions for productions including engine nacelles and composite floor panels; engineering design and technical services; as well as aviation materials and asset management services. For more information, please visit www.stengg.com.
Elbe Flugzeugwerke GmbH (EFW), joint venture between ST Engineering and Airbus combines various aviation and technology activities under a single roof: development and manufacturing of fibre-reinforced composite components for aircraft structures and interiors of the entire Airbus family, the conversion of passenger aircraft into freighter configuration, maintenance and repair of Airbus aircraft as well as engineering services in the context of certification and approval. With over 20 years of experience and more than 40 conversion customers worldwide, thereof the largest Express carriers in North America and Europe but also renowned General Freight and Combination Carriers, EFW is the Centre of Excellence for freighter conversions and driving the development of the Airbus freighter family. The company has a workforce of about 1,600 employees and achieved revenues of approximately €300 million in 2019. For more information about EFW, please visit www.efw.aero.