The world's first Airbus A320 freighter takes off

Romain Guillot
le 08/12/2021 , Maintenance aéronautique
We knew its first flight was near, but Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW) was able to keep the surprise until the end. The first Airbus A320P2F (Passenger to Freighter) took off for the first time on December 8 from Seletar Airport in Singapore. As for the first A321P2F in January 2020, this aircraft was indeed converted by ST Engineering, the Singaporean company being partner of Airbus in their joint venture EFW in Germany.

The conversion of the first prototype started in March. This A320 (MSN 2737, V2500, ex-IndiGo, delivered new to TAM in Brazil in 2006) will now perform the usual certification tests to be able to obtain its STC from the EASA in the coming weeks. The aircraft will then be placed on lease within the American group Vaayu Group via the new leasing division of ST Engineering, ST Engineering Aerospace Resources (STEAR).

The new A320P2F completes the full cargo range of aircraft offered by EFW, namely the A321P2F, A330-300P2F and A330-200P2F. But unlike the A321P2F, which primarily aims to replace the 757Fs, the new cargo version of the A320 is targeting head-on the market targeted by the converted 737-800s, a segment that has met with significant success for the past two years and which is today shared by Boeing (737-800BCF), Aeronautical Engineers (737-800SF) and by the Aviation division of Israel Aerospace Industries (737-800BDSF).

According to EFW, the A320P2F has a cargo capacity of 10 ULD containers, plus a pallet position on the main deck, as well as seven ULD containers in the hold, allowing it to offer payload and volume. containerized significantly larger than its closest competitor. The aircraft can carry 21 tonnes of payload over 1,800 nautical miles (3,334 km) or 17 tonnes over 2,560 nautical miles (4741 km).

As a reminder, EFW's A320/A321P2F program now has three conversion sites with ST Engineering sites in Singapore, in Guangzhou (China) and now in San Antonio in the United States (VT San Antonio Aerospace). Five A321P2Fs are in service around the world and all A320/A321P2F conversion slots are reserved until mid-2024. According to Airbus, the demand for cargo aircraft converted from single-aisle passenger aircraft represents a need for nearly 1,000 aircraft over 20 years.

As for the direct competitor of the A320P2F, Boeing has already placed 200 737-800BCF aircraft alone (in orders and commitments from 19 customers). The American aircraft manufacturer obviously does not intend to stop there, multiplying the announcements of the creation of additional conversion lines since the beginning of the year.


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A320P2F EFW ST Engineering Airbus Vaayu Group


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