The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has validated the supplemental type certificate (STC) Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW) obtained from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for its A321P2F conversion, effectively greenlighting the aircraft for operations in the United States.
EFW received the STC in February. With approvals from the two major authorities now at hand, EFW can also proceed to have the STC validated by other bodies, such as the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), and said it doesn’t expect any problems with this.
EFW told Cargo Facts it expects to redeliver the first aircraft (835, ex-Onur Air) in a matter of weeks. Unit 835, currently still at the ST Engineering facility in Singapore (XSP) where it was converted, was recently painted into the livery of launch operator Qantas and will be leased from Luxembourg-based Vallair, which confirmed to Cargo Facts in early July that the aircraft should leave for Australia in around two months.
EFW said the conversion house will grow its capacity to twenty-three A321s per year, with additional conversion lines at sites in China, Dresden (DRS) and the U.S. by 2023.
EFW also said it is making good progress on the two other A321s currently at XSP: unit 1238 (ex-Thomas Cook Airlines), which was inducted for conversion in January; and unit 1250 (ex-Thomas Cook), which was inducted in March. Both will be leased from BBAM to U.K.-based Titan Airways, and are expected later this year.
While an MRO facility in the U.S. has yet to be announced, EFW has already selected the ST Aerospace (Guangzhou) Aviation Services facility in Guangzhou (CAN) as its next conversion center. Vallair told Cargo Facts it was still expecting to induct the first aircraft (1017, ex-R Airlines) before yearend.
Other known frames that are in EFW’s pipeline include: units 974 and 1207 (both ex-Windrose Airlines), both owned by Vallair; unit 2060 (ex-Thomas Cook Airlines), owned by Titan Airways; and unit 1408, owned by Keystone Holdings, a 50-50 joint venture between ST Aerospace and SJ Aviation Capital. This aircraft is destined for Qantas and was in passenger service with the airline’s low-cost subsidiary Jetstar until late March.
Meanwhile, the first A321 to be converted by 321 Precision Conversions (891, ex-FlyCAA) recently began taxi and engine tests in July, after having been completed at the Avocet MRO facility in Orlando (SFB). The aircraft should take to the air soon and is expected to be redelivered by the end of 2020 to launch customer Vallair, which confirmed it has secured an undisclosed customer for it.