It has been a busy quarter for EFW, which today redelivered the first freighter-converted A330-300F (116, ex-Malaysia Airlines) to launch customer DHL. Although EFW, the 55/45 joint venture of ST Aerospace and Airbus, originally announced the A330-300 conversion program in 2012, the program has progressed rapidly this quarter with major milestones such as the first flight, EASA STC certification, and today’s re-delivery to DHL all occurring within the final three months of 2018.
For quite some time, there has been discussion of the new generation of freighter conversion programs as if they were a distant reality. But in late 2017, this future arrived, first for narrowbody conversions,when Bedek redelivered the first freighter-converted 737-700BDSF to Alaska Airlines, and now for medium widebody conversions with EFW’s A330-300F.
As can be seen from the photo at right, DHL Express was so eager to put the A330-300F into service that it skipped the customary trip to the paint hanger until peak season subsides. Instead it was immediately handed off to ASL Airlines Ireland for operation on a CMI basis. Executives from DHL said the aircraft would go into DHL Express’ Asia network.
For DHL, the A330-300F could become a core component of the express company’s medium widebody freighter fleet replacement strategy. DHL’s airline affiliates operate a number of ageing A300 freighters for which either new-build, or freighter-converted 767s or A330s would be suitable replacement candidates. The freighter-converted A330-300 redelivered today is the first of eight A330-300P2Fs DHL has an order with EFW. Beyond the first eight, DHL has options for ten more conversions. DHL is also investing in 767 conversions.
Here is a timeline of the EFW A330 Family conversion program to date:
December 2014: Egyptair signs a firm order for two A330-200P2F conversions, plus two options.
July 2016: DHL signs a firm order for four A330-300P2F conversions.
July 2016: The first A330-300 (116, ex-Malaysia Airlines) is inducted for conversion at Dresden (DRS).
April 2017: Egyptair ferries A330-200 to DRS.
June 2017: DHL firm orders four more A330-300P2F conversions, plus 10 options.
December 2016: A second A330-300 (127, ex-Hi Fly) is inducted at DRS.
June 2017: With EFW’s Dresden facility at capacity, the above-mentioned second A330-300 is ferried to ST Aero’s Paya Lebar (QPG) facility.
October 2017: First flight of A330-300P2F at DRS.
November 2017: EFW receives supplemental type certification (STC) from the European Aviation Safety Agency for it passenger-to-freighter conversion program for the A330-300.
December 2017: The conformity aircraft (116) was redelivered to launch customer DHL Express, which handed it over to ASL Airlines Ireland for operation on a CMI basis.