Freight First A321P2F enters service with Qantas Freight

Qantas Freight has become the launch customer for the converted Airbus A321 Passenger-To-Freighter variant.

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Elbe Flugwerke (EFW), a joint venture created by ST engineering and Airbus, has delivered the first ever converted A321 freighter aircraft. The A321P2F entered into service in October and represents a milestone for the company. Leased by asset manager Vallair, Qantas will use the aircraft for services on behalf of Australia Post.

In February this year, EFW received a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the A321P2F from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in February this year, and the Validation STC from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in July.

The collaboration between Airbus and ST Engineering is the first joint venture in the market to deliver OEM-Supported conversion services for A321 aircraft. After customers had shown interest in the demand of such aircraft, the companies decided to start the project.

Qantas Freight A321P2F Interior © Airbus
Qantas Freight A321P2F Interior © Airbus

Andreas Hermann, VP Asset Management at Airbus and member of the EFW shareholder committee said: “We are very pleased to see the A321P2F programme entering service. The Airbus A321 is the platform which, by design, will offer the best economics, cargo capacity and performance in the Single-Aisle freighter segment going forward. For any asset owner this will provide an excellent opportunity to leverage future growth and replacement waves, underpinning the already great value proposition of the A321 today."

Gregoire Lebigot, CEO - Vallair added: “The A321 is the future of freighter conversions [...] Not only is this freighter variant better for the environment due to its 20% reduction in fuel burn, but it offers enhanced performance across range, payload and volume with a unique capacity for fourteen container positions in the upper deck and ten more on the containerised lower cargo deck. Thanks to its fly by wire technology, the A321 is more advanced and the aircraft is still in production.”

With the container positions, the A321P2F can carry 28 metric tonnes over 2,300 nautical miles. Airbus stated, that the aircraft could be especially suited for domestic and regional operations. The conversion includes the installation of a new cargo door, which is hydraulically actuated.

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