EADS and Russia's
United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) have fleshed out their 2007 agreement to
convert A320/321s into freighters by signing two follow-up contracts with
combined value of $360 million.
One contract envisages carrying out
a design work by UAC and EADS' wholly-owned subsidiaries Airbus and Elbe Flugzeugwerke within the framework of joint venture company
Airbus Freighter Conversion.
Under the other contract, UAC
constituent firm NPK Irkut will supply kits to fit
out A320 cargo models at Elbe Flugzeugwerke in Dresden.
The partners are expecting to
produce the first prototype of the converted Airbus freighter in 2011.
Potential demand for the type is estimated at 400 units until 2025 and combined
maximum annual output at 40 freighters to be produced in Dresden
and at a designated Russian facility.
president Oleg Demchenko says its Irkutsk
factory is set to begin serial manufacture of components to equip A320Fs after
receiving necessary certification from Airbus.
Under the 2007 agreement, conversion
work was to start simultaneously in Dresden and
at a MiG plant in Lukhovitsy,
east off Moscow,
which remained idle after the Tupolev Tu-334 programme was abandoned.
But EADS representative in Moscow,
Vadim Vlasov, says Elbe Flugzeugwerke will be the first to launch the project in
2010. He explains that UAC has notified EADS about reassigning work on ageing
A320s to an underused Myasishchev facility at nearby Zhukovsky.
This change of site may lead to a
delay of up to one and a half years in getting A320 conversions underway in Russia.