European authorities have certified the Airbus A321 passenger-to-freighter conversion undertaken by the airframer’s EFW joint venture with ST Engineering.
Approval of the supplementary type certificate by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency follows the maiden flight of the initial converted aircraft on 22 January. The aircraft is set to be delivered to Vallair.
ST Engineering had recently stated that it expected to secure certification for the P2F conversion by the end of the first quarter of 2020.
“The swift process in attaining EASA’s STC shortly after our first flight test is a testament to the engineering and design strengths of our P2F solution,” says ST Engineering aerospace president Lim Serh Ghee.
EFW chief Andreas Sperl says the A321P2F “complements” the passenger-to-freight modification it undertakes for the A330.
He says the two fully-containerised decks – with up to 14 positions on the main deck and 10 on the lower – will provide an “ideal replacement” for older converted Boeing 757s.
The aircraft is intended to transport up to 27.9t over a range of 2,300nm.
Airbus says it is “confident” that more operators will show interest in the newly-developed modification as the aircraft enters service.
Lease management firm BBAM signed a general terms agreement at the end of last year for “several” A321P2F conversions, says EFW.
Its first aircraft was inducted in January for modification in Singapore and conversion of a second will start in March.
ST Engineering leasing venture Keystone Holdings has also reached a letter of intent with Qantas for conversion and lease of an A321P2F for delivery at the end of 2021.
Airbus has forecast a market for some 1,000 conversions of small aircraft into freighters over the next two decades.