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Many separate industry sources have independently told Cargo Facts that the A320 passenger-to-freighter conversion program is about to be postponed, with an official announcement expected today (Friday 03 June).
As it currently stands, the program is spearheaded by Airbus Freighter Conversions (AFC), a joint venture of EFW (EADS’ MRO and conversion arm), Airbus, and Russian aerospace companies UAC and Irkut, with EFW holding a 32% stake, Airbus 18%, and the two Russian firms holding 25% each. The program was launched with an order for up to 30 conversions from Netherlands-based lessor AerCap, however, Cargo Facts believes that at least one other order was in late-stage negotiation at the time of the program’s suspension. The only end user so far identified by AerCap is Sweden-based West Atlantic, which had agreed to take three A320Fs, one in 2012, and the remaining two in 2013.
The conformity aircraft (ex-Tunisair, msn 211) was inducted at EFW’s Dresden facility in April (although actual conversion work was not scheduled to start until later this year).