Converted A321P2F Freighter Certification Expected By April
SINGAPORE—ST Engineering told reporters at the Singapore Airshow that its newest converted Airbus freighter is expected to receive certification “either this month or next month.”
Designed by EFW—the freight conversion joint-venture between Airbus and Singapore-based ST Engineering—the A321P2F made its maiden test flight on Jan. 22, taking off from ST Engineering’s Seletar, Singapore facility. An ST engineering spokeswoman told Aviation Daily that the company is targeting a first delivery to Luxembourg-based lessor Vallair in July.
Under the terms of Vallair’s contract with EFW, the lessor will convert 10 A321-200s to A321P2F cargo freighters. Qantas is set to become the launch operator of the converted narrowbody after it signed an LOI in August 2019 to lease the first A321P2F from Vallair. The Australian flag carrier plans to eventually introduce up to three of the type through its partnership with Australia Post.
The A321P2F will be the only single-aisle freighter in the world to feature digital fly-by-wire technology, as well as the first narrowbody freighter to introduce a containerized lower-deck. Designed with a “smart cargo loading system,” the A321P2F will carry 35% more cargo volume with up to 25% more range and lower noise emissions compared to other converted narrowbodies, according to the ST Engineering spokeswoman.
“We see a huge potential for this aircraft as a key tool for the cargo industry to achieve the projected growth rate of the air freight market in general, particularly express services and e-commerce. Additionally, the substantial fuel efficiency advantages are well-suited to 1-4 hour flight legs,” Vallair CEO Gregoire Lebigot said in a press release following the A321P2F’s maiden test-flight.