ST Aerospace has completed the preliminary design work for its Airbus A330 passenger-to-freighter (P2F) conversion programme, and is aiming to secure a launch customer by year-end.
Chief operating officer Lim Serh Ghee says Airbus issued a “No Technical Objection” on the proposed design in the second quarter of this year.
The programme will move into detailed and critical design works in the fourth quarter.
“We’re in deep discussions with a couple of airlines, and some in the freight business, and are hopeful to secure a launch customer by this year,” says Lim.
The Singapore-based MRO player has decided to launch the programme with the -300 variant, and is aiming to have the first aircraft enter service in 2017, after obtaining supplemental type certification that same year.
“When we have a solution, the aircraft residual value will be just about right for people to come on and do conversions. The residual values, now, are still on the high side,” says Lim.
He adds that Airbus's launch of the A330neo will also be advantageous for the conversion programme.
“First, it extends the life of the A330 family. As the new A330s comes in, the older ones will also come out [of the market], increasing the fleet stock, which is good for our conversion programme,” says Lim.
Airbus launched the A330P2F conversion programme in 2012 in conjunction with ST Aerospace and EADS EFW.