A couple of interesting items to share this morning.
ST Aero to convert A330s? As you’ve probably heard by now, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al-Baker lashed out at Airbus during the Dubai show. No surprise there, as he regularly dumps scorn on aircraft manufacturers, but this time it was of interest to the freight community because as part of his harangue he threatened that if Airbus did not soon offer an A330 P-to-F program he would “dispose of” his pax A330s and order a large number of freighter-converted 767s. A short time later Mr. Al-Baker and Airbus sales chief John Leahy announced that they had patched up their differences and that Qatar was placing a firm order for fifty A320s and five A380s. Neither man mentioned what specific problem had been resolved in order to convince Qatar to go ahead with the order, but Bloomberg is quoting Mr. Leahy as saying later in the day that Airbus was talking to Singapore Technologies Aerospace (ST Aero) regarding a deal that would see ST converting passenger A330s to freighter configuration. No details yet, and no indication of why Airbus would go through ST Aero rather than EADS EFW. We shall see.
MD-80 Update: Aeronautical Engineers Inc. tells us that it has installed the cargo door frame on the conformity aircraft in its MD-80 P-to-F program. It will be some time yet before this aircraft is in the air, but it is nice to see progress.