US company Global Crossing Airlines is intending to lease 10 converted Airbus A321 freighters from the asset management specialist Vallair, the launch customer for the modification.
Vallair says the preliminary agreement – still a letter of intent – is the “most significant deal” for the narrowbody freighter.
Miami-based Global Crossing Airlines, also branded as GlobalX, is planning to start up as a wet-lease and charter carrier with A320-family jets.
It had recently disclosed plans to obtain passenger-to-freighter conversions for five A321s from St Engineering and EFW, adding that it had signed letters of intent to pick up four A321s from a European airline by the third quarter of 2021.
Vallair echoes that the first A321 will be delivered to GlobalX by this date, adding that GlobalX expects all 10 freighters to be delivered – and operating – by the second quarter of 2023.
“This ground-breaking agreement will see the company take its pioneering A321 freighter programme to the next level,” adds Vallair.
It states that the A321 converted freighter is the “ideal candidate” for satisfying the demand for air cargo which has emerged since the onset of the pandemic.
“This is an unparalleled opportunity, and we are uniquely positioned to maximise the potential,” claims GlobalX chief Ed Wegel.
He says the company plans to secure aircraft contracts over the next six months that will cement its fleet requirements to the end of 2022.
“In agreeing this lease, Vallair has enabled us to achieve this,” he adds, “certainly from a freighter perspective.”
Over 1,700 of the 1,760 original A321s delivered remain in service, according to Airbus, and Vallair says the majority of these aircraft are potential feedstock.
Its first agreement for A321 freighters was reached with Qantas Freight in August last year, about six months before the initial aircraft carried out its first flight following the cargo modification.
“The focus of [the GlobalX] deal for Vallair has been to make the air cargo capacity available in the Americas,” says Vallair chief executive Gregoire Lebigot.
“We are trusting that the very experienced management of GlobalX will be successful to maximise this opportunity.”
Supplying cargo capacity to an operator in Miami, he adds, could help freight forwarders to address demand in North America and Latin America.