Latvia-based SmartLynx Airlines has placed an order with Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW) for six A321 passenger-to-freighter conversions, the Airbus/ST Engineering joint venture announced at the Singapore Airshow on Wednesday. The order is significant for Singapore because ST Engineering will carry out the work in Singapore and China over this year and next.
“We are delighted to work with EFW towards our goal of becoming the largest operator of A321 cargo freighters, as we are convinced that this type of aircraft will become the top choice for customers globally,” said Zygimantas Surintas, SmartLynx Airlines CEO. “There are many advantages to the A321 aircraft, especially in the freighter field, as it is the most fuel-efficient narrowbody cargo aircraft available, and we have made a conscious decision to follow the market’s demands for more sustainable air transportation. This choice of aircraft underlines SmartLynx’s commitment to the future, focused on cleaner, environmentally conscious, and sustainable air freight transport.”
SmartLynx is a full-service ACMI, charter, and cargo operator that operates an A320/321 fleet widely throughout Europe and the Mediterranean. The operator already has on its books one EFW-modified A321P2F freighter used by SmartLynx Malta to fly services on behalf of DHL Europe. SmartLynx will also allocate the new conversions to DHL operations.
Like its smaller A320P2F sibling, the A321P2F offers containerized loading on both main and lower decks, with an ability to accommodate up to 24 containers. Optimized weight distribution enables random loading, which carries particular value to express carriers.
EFW and ST Engineering established two new sites for A321P2F conversions last year, one in the U.S. and one in China. This year a new site in China is due to open for A330P2F widebody conversions. EFW expects to offer around 60 conversion slots across its sites annually by 2024.