Mexico-based MasAir will grow its fleet with the addition of two A330-200P2Fs. The carrier expects to receive both aircraft in the first quarter of 2022, on lease from Altavair [FATs 006167-6170].
MasAir, which since 2011 has been an all-767F operator, told Cargo Facts that it had started looking more seriously at the A330 platform around the beginning of 2020 and that the diversification into the A330-200 is based on the intention to operate a freighter type with a different capacity and range, rather than on the lack of 767s — whether feedstock or converted — or conversion slots for them.
As for the choice of the A330-200P2F over the -300P2F — currently the more popular of the two variants — MasAir told Cargo Facts that the higher range of the shorter model was a key factor in the decision. The A330-200P2F has a maximum payload of around 61 tonnes and a range of up to 7,700 km, according to Airbus.
At present, no Mexican carrier operates A330s, although MasAir will not be the country’s first Airbus freighter operator; AeroUnion has three A300-600Fs, after phasing out its older A300-200Fs last year.
MasAir declined to provide specifics of the two A330s at this stage such as MSN and year of manufacture.
Altavair signed a deal to acquire thirty-eight widebodies from Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways last year, including sixteen A330-200s manufactured between 2005 and 2014 and equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines. At the time, Altavair had mentioned freighter conversion as an option for the A330-200s, along with six other A330-300s.
We note that two of the sixteen ex-Etihad A330-200s that had been listed on MyAirTrade in late 2020 now no longer appear: units 854 and 868, both manufactured in 2007. Altavair could not immediately be reached for comment.
MasAir said it will likely assign the A330-200P2Fs to ACMI flying and that it is keen to operate flights to China. The operator obtained foreign air carrier approval under Part 129 of the Chinese Civil Aviation Regulations last year and is also looking at trans-Atlantic operations,
Egyptair is currently the only operator of Elbe Flugzeugwerke’s (EFW) A330-200P2F, with three units, but that will change next year; apart from MasAir, Turkmenistan Airlines will also take redelivery of two A330-200P2Fs in 2022, as part of a deal with Airbus.
MasAir took delivery of two freighters last year: a 767-300BDSF (24853, ex-ABX Air) in July and a 767-200BDSF (22788, ex-West Atlantic) in October, both on lease from Cargo Aircraft Management (CAM). The carrier said that, despite investing over $5 million in flight and technical crew, infrastructure and IT systems ahead of the A330s’ arrival, it will continue flying its three 767Fs and may expand that fleet with further additions in the coming years.