Istanbul-based maintenance company MNG Technic has become the second passenger-to-freighter (P2F) modification provider for the Airbus A300-600 after EADS' EFW centre in Dresden.
The Turkish company has started work on the first of three A300-600s which belong to parent MNG Airlines.
Its conversion programme is based on the supplemental type certificate of US engineering company Flight Structures.
MNG has taken over the certificate, which Seattle-based Flight Structures developed during the mid-2000s to compete with EFW.
MNG has also acquired four of six ex-China Southern Airlines A300-600s, which had been earmarked for the US conversion programme in 2006-2007.
Only one of the Pratt & Whitney PW4158-powered twinjets - serial number 733, built in 1994 - was eventually modified as planned by China Southern affiliate Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering.
This aircraft is owned by MNG Airlines and will be joined by numbers 734, 739 and 756 after they have been converted by the carrier's maintenance arm.
MNG Technic said two of the yet-to-be converted aircraft have arrived in Istanbul, with work having started on one of them in late September.
While the company sees sufficient market scope for further A300-600 conversions and a cost advantage over its German competitor, the timing to begin the programme is curious.
EFW has estimated its A300/A310 conversion line will wind down in about 2015 because of the dwindling feedstock of passenger aircraft.
With Airbus offering the A330-200 as a new-build freighter, attention has turned to the A330-300 as the next candidate for freighter conversion. However, no programme has formally been launched.
Flight Structures developed its A300-600 modification after acquiring the respective supplemental type certificate for A300B4 aircraft from BAE Systems in 2002. The two had developed the A300B4 conversion in partnership and converted a number of aircraft at Filton in the UK.
MNG's A300-600 conversion, which has European approval, will involve removing all cabin interior equipment, installation of a large main-deck freighter door and reinforcement of the floor. The freighter will have a payload capability of 52 tonnes.