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Airbus launches A320 Family freighter conversion program

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Paving the way for Airbus’ first ever single-aisle freighter, an agreement was signed in June during the Paris Le Bourget Air Show between Airbus and Singapore-based ST Aerospace to offer passenger-to-freighter (P2F) conversion solutions for the largest members of the A320 Family: the A320 and A321. Planning is in place to deliver the first P2F converted aircraft – an A321 – in 2018.

Program will be managed by Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW) in Dresden, Germany

The A320/A321 P2F conversion will be marketed and managed by Dresden, Germany based Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW). As part of this agreement , Singapore based ST Aerospace will increase its shareholding in EFW to 55 percent, replacing Airbus as the majority shareholder in the company. Airbus will retain a minority 45 percent shareholding in EFW.

Demand for over 600 small freighters in the next 20 years

Airbus sees a significant market demand in the small freighter segment of more than 600 aircraft over the next 20 years. The A320P2F which has eleven main-deck container positions can carry 46,300 pounds (21 metric tonnes) of payload over 2,100nm and the larger A321P2F with 14 main-deck positions can carry up to 59,500 pounds (27 metric tonnes) over 1,900nm. Uniquely, the A320 Family is the only single-aisle type that also accommodates containers or pallets on the lower deck, which translates into more usable volume, increased payload capability and protection against inclement weather.

An excellent fit for North America

With over 1,000 A320 Family aircraft already in service in North America, the aircraft are well known to our operators and customers, who have benefited from their economic efficiency for many years. North America being the largest region for small jet freighters, freight operators will now have the opportunity to benefit from the A320’s technology as well. The A320’s advanced technology includes the extensive use of weight-saving composites, an optimised wing that is 20 per cent is more efficient than previous designs, a centralised fault display for easier troubleshooting and lower maintenance costs, along with Airbus’ fly-by-wire flight controls. The A320P2F and A321P2F will be the first and only small jet freighters featuring fly-by-wire technology, which will in the future make an A320 – A321  – A330 freighter combination a highly successful one.