SmartLynx will add four more A321P2Fs as it continues to grow its freighter fleet.
The carrier confirmed to Cargo Facts that the four aircraft in question are currently part of its own passenger fleet (2342, 2903, 2912, and 3191, all ex-Small Planet Airlines) and on lease from GTLK Europe, the Ireland-based subsidiary of Russian lessor GTLK, which announced a four-aircraft A321 conversion order with Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW) in May 2021.
SmartLynx said it had agreed with GTLK to extend the leases on the aircraft and take them on as freighters. Three of the A321s will begin conversion this year, while the fourth will be converted in 2022, according to EFW’s announcement in May.
The four A321s are 2004, 2006, 2006 and 2007 builds, respectively, all with CFM56-5B engines.
SmartLynx’s Malta-based affiliate only began freighter operations earlier in June with its first A321-200PCF (891, ex-Air Mediterranee), on lease from Vallair and currently flying between Leipzig (LEJ) and Linz (LNZ) as part of an ACMI deal with DHL Express. The carrier’s second freighter, an A321-200P2F (1017, ex-R Airlines), will also be leased from Vallair and is nearing completion at the ST Aerospace (Guangzhou) Aviation Services facility in Guangzhou (CAN).
It remains to be seen whether the four additional freighters will also operate on behalf of DHL or another express integrator.
SmartLynx told Cargo Facts in October 2020 that it plans to take its fleet to ten A321Fs by 2023, and hinted at the possibility of converting its own passenger aircraft.
Meanwhile, Florida-based Global Crossing Airlines, with which SmartLynx has a partnership agreement, is likely to become the first A321F operator in the U.S. and is building what could be a substantial freighter fleet of its own.
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