Airbus and ST Aerospace formally launched an A320 Family passenger-to-freighter conversion program through their EFW joint venture.
It has been no secret that the program was in development, and Cargo Facts expected the formal launch earlier this year, but the companies instead chose the Paris Air Show as the fitting stage for the announcement. One thing that did go as we expected, is that the first type to be converted will be the A321, which the companies say will enter service in 2018, while the smaller A320 is scheduled to follow one year later.
The A320 Family conversion program will be developed in the same fashion as the A330 Family P-to-F program, with ST Aerospace leading the engineering development and taking responsibility for the conversion kit. EFW will subsequently manage and lead the program as well as handle sales, marketing, and customer support. Airbus will actively support the program by providing the OEM data, cockpit computer modifications, and certification support.
Looking at technical specifications:
- The A321P2F will offer up to 14 main deck positions. Maximum payload will be 27 tonnes, with range at max payload of over 1,900 nautical miles.
- The A320P2F will offer up to 11 main deck positions. Maximum payload will be 21 tonnes, with range at max payload of over 2,100 nautical miles
In addition, both the A320 and A321 converted freighters will offer a containerized or palletized lower deck, able to fit LD3-45/AKH containers.
With EFW now committed to conversion programs for both the A320 and A321, the future shape of the narrowbody freighter market looks like this:
- Aeronautical Engineers, Inc: 737-800 P-to-F and P-to-Combi. (Formally launched)
- Bedek Aviation Group: 737-700 P-to-F, 737-800 P-to-F. (Formally launched)
- Boeing: 737-800 P-to-F. (The Boeing Board has granted approval to offer)
- EFW: A320 P-to-F, A321 P-to-F (Formally launched)
- PACAVI: A320 P-to-F, A321 P-to-F. (Formally launched)
- PEMCO World Air Services: 737-700 P-to-F, P-to-Combi, P-to-QC, 737-800 P-to-F, P-to-Combi, P-to-QC. (PEMCO has not formally launched these programs, but says they are “in development” and will be brought to market “soon.”)