Astral Aviation orders up to three AEI MD-83SF conversions

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Nairobi-based Astral Aviation has struck a deal with conversion specialist Aeronautical Engineers (AEI) for one firm Boeing MD-83SF and two options.

In August, AEI's authorised conversion centre Commercial Jet will begin converting the passenger aircraft into a freighter outfitted with positions for 12 cargo pallets measuring 2.24m x 2.74m (88in x 108in).

The high gross weight MD83SF has a range of 2600nm and will feature auxiliary fuel tanks.

"Astral showed early interest in our MD80SF programme, which is now in full production," said Robert Convey, AEI's vice-president of sales and marketing. "This MD80SF order represents the first on the African continent which is showing great interest in the freighter type."

AEI received a supplemental type certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration for the MD80 freighter conversion in February and is expecting demand in Africa for more than 25 of the aircraft type over the next five years.