North American contracts ST Aero for 757 conversion

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North American Airlines has contracted ST Aerospace subsidiary Vision Technologies Systems to convert Boeing 757-200 passenger aircraft to freight/passenger combi (P2C) configuration.

"One or more" aircraft are to be modified under the agreement, says ST Aerospace. North American Airlines operates five Rolls-Royce RB211-535E4-powered 757-200 passenger jets, according to its website. The charter carrier is a subsidiary of Global Aviation Holdings, which provides air transportation services to the US military.

The converted narrowbody aircraft will accommodate up to 10 cargo pallets and 45 passengers in economy-class seats, albeit with larger-than-usual seat pitch. North American plans to ferry heavy supplies and personnel with the aircraft.

The supplemental type certificate for the P2C conversion has yet to be developed and gain Federal Aviation Administration approval. Work on the passenger jet could begin in the third quarter of 2011, indicates ST Aerospace. The company will probably carry out this work at its Mobile, Alabama facility, where it engineered its 757 freighter conversion programme together with Boeing.

It has modified 17 of the type for DHL and two multi-role aircraft for New Zealand's air force, and is in the process of converting 87 757-200s for FedEx.