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PARIS: June 20, 2019. Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW), the joint venture between Airbus and ST Engineering, has signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with US aircraft lessor BBAM for an A321 converted freighter. EFW says it has also signed an LoI with an unnamed airline for another aircraft with contracts for both expected “within the next few weeks”.

EFW conversion The A321 passenger aircraft will begin conversion into a 14-pallet main deck cargo configuration in mid-2020 and is scheduled for redelivery at the end of 2020. The order by BBAM follows a launch contract that was announced in 2018.

The A321 P2F conversion programme was begun in 2015 with ST Engineering responsible for the engineering development phase, Airbus contributes OEM data and certification support, while programme leader EFW remains responsible for marketing and sales. The aircraft is expected to carry 28 tons over 2,300 nautical miles.

“As the first conversion solution to introduce a containerised lower deck in the segment of narrowbody freighters, the A321P2F has the potential to be the game changer for any hub and spoke operation,” said BBAM president and CEO Steve Zissis.

EFW says its A321P2F conversion programme is the first in its size category to offer containerised loading on both the main deck and lower deck - with the latter providing up to 10 positions. The prototype aircraft is expected by the end of this year.

“Given the track record we have in redelivering converted freighters with the support and resources from parent companies, ST Engineering and Airbus, we are confident in meeting BBAM’s requirements for this first conversion,” added EFW CEO Andreas Speri.

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