Lessor Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) is set to add its first Airbus freighters after announcing a deal to purchase two A321s in response to customer demand.

ATSG’s Cargo Aircraft Management (CAM) leasing subsidiary has committed to the aircraft with one arriving this year and a second in the first quarter of 2022.

ATSG Airbus A321

Source: ATSG

The aircraft will then be converted by ATSG’s Pemco Conversions into a freighter configuration.

Mike Berger, chief commercial officer of ATSG, says: “We have accelerated our plans to invest in and offer this midsize, mid-range freighter type because our express-network customers have expressed strong interest in adding it to their fleets.

“Since the development of our passenger-to-freighter (P2F) conversion design for the A321 commenced in 2017, it was with the intention to extend our leased-freighter options into this airframe type in the future.

“It is very well suited for air-express service and e-commerce fulfillment over shorter routes and with smaller payloads as a complement to our existing fleet of more than eighty-five larger Boeing 767 converted freighters, and with better performance than Boeing 757 freighters or any Boeing 737 freighter variants. The time is right to launch this milestone initiative for ATSG and its aircraft leasing customers.”

Freighter conversion of the first aircraft will begin in the fourth quarter of 2021 and is expected to be delivered to a CAM dry-lease customer in the second quarter of 2022.

The second aircraft will begin freighter conversion in the second quarter of 2022 with redelivery projected during the fourth quarter of 2022.

Pemco Conversions inducted its first A321 for conversion earlier this month.

ATSG’s cargo fleet currently stands at 52 Boeing 767-300s, 33 767-200s, one 757-200 and four 757-200 combis.