Daimler-Benz Aerospace (Dasa) Airbus will subcontract six Airbus A300B4 cargo conversions to its French partner Sogerma in 1998, as its orderbook swells and it seeks additional conversion capacity.

The company expects its A300B4 conversion to be certificated by mid-September. It has recently taken orders and commitments for a further 28 conversions, including two of A310s. The customers include DHL International (Europe) for two additional conversions of former Continental Airlines A300B4-200s.

Aviation Sales has an order for four, Pinnacle Aircraft has taken up two options and an unannounced customer will order another 18 conversions. Dasa has also been contracted by FedEx/International Lease Finance to convert two ex-Sabena A310-200s.

Dasa will undertake 12 conversions at its Dresden plant in 1998, while Sogerma will convert a further six aircraft (for DHL Europe and Aviation Sales) at Bordeaux. Dasa expects Sogerma to continue to provide "spill-over" capacity as it has no unused conversion slots until 1999.

Dasa is vying with British Aerospace for the contract to convert seven ex-Thai International A300B4s for DHL USA, and has been examining ways of boosting its conversion capacity. A subcontract to the South African company Simera is one possible option.

Source: Flight International