Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW), the Airbus and ST Engineering aircraft conversion joint venture, has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with U.S. aircraft lease management specialist BBAM for an Airbus A321.
The LOI, signed at the Paris Air Show, will see the narrowbody aircraft inducted for conversion into a 14-pallet cargo configuration in the middle of next year. The converted PTF, which follows on from a launch contract signed by the parties in last year, is scheduled for redelivery in late 2020.
EFW started carrying out A321 PTF conversions in 2015 along with running its designated program for the A320 PTF program. It also carries out A330 PTF conversions in the form of two variants: the -200 and the -300. In summer 2018, EgyptAir Cargo was the launch customer for the -200, while freighter carrier DHL Express signed up as the first launch customer for the converted -300 in 2017.
Typically, a PTF program sees Singapore-based ST Engineering be responsible for the engineering development phase, including the obtaining of supplemental type certificate approval by European regulator EASA and U.S. aviation safety body the FAA. Airbus contributes OEM data and certification support, with both parties’ EFW JV overseeing the program overall from its headquarters in Dresden, Germany.
BBAM, among the world’s top 10 largest aircraft leasing companies, currently manages a fleet of just below 400 aircraft. Steve Zissis, president and CEO of San Francisco-based BBAM, says the lessor is looking to offer different conversion solutions to its customers.
Elbe Flugzeugwerke will covert an Airbus A321 for aircraft lessor BBAM.“As the first conversion solution to introduce a containerised lower deck in the segment of narrowbody freighters, the A321P2F has the potential to be the game changer for any hub and spoke operation, and to greatly help realise the projected global air cargo growth rate. For this reason, we made the decision to work with EFW to offer this conversion solution to our customers.”