DHL Express has acquired an A330-300 (1477, ex-Hi Fly) and ferried the aircraft from Chateauroux (CHR) where the aircraft was in storage, to Dresden (DRS) for conversion to freighter configuration by Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW) [FATs 005760-005761].
At just over seven years old, the 2013 vintage A330-300 will become the youngest of the type to be converted to freighter configuration, the latest in a series of low-cycle aircraft to enter conversion this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although Malta-based Hi Fly had planned on adding the aircraft to its passenger charter operation, the aircraft was never put into service by the carrier since it joined from Singapore Airlines earlier this year.
The aircraft is, by a significant margin, the youngest A330-300 acquired by DHL Express for freighter conversion. As of today, five DHL-owned A330-300P2Fs are in service. Three aircraft operated on a CMI basis by ASL Airlines Ireland are twenty-two to twenty-five years old and were at least twenty years old when they were initially inducted for conversion, according to the Cargo Facts Freighter Aircraft Transaction database.
Even prior to the pandemic, DHL had begun selecting younger airframes for its A330-300 conversions. Two DHL-owned A330-330P2Fs acquired for conversion in 2019 and redelivered this year (777 and 781) are now just over fourteen years old, according to Airbus production records. The pair of aircraft are operated on a CMI basis by Air Hong Kong.
The sixth and seventh A330-300s (1124 and 1107) for DHL, both just over ten years old, were inducted earlier this year.
Apart from age, the newer airframes also utilize different power plants than DHL’s earlier conversions. The first three A330-300P2Fs redelivered to DHL were powered by Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines. All subsequent A330-300 acquisitions, including the two A330-300s redelivered this year and 1477, have been equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines.