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Friday, June 3, 2011

A320 passenger-to-freighter conversion program suspended

Note: The following article is excerpted from the current issue of Cargo Facts Update. We encourage those of you who do not already subscribe to the weekly Update, and its companion the monthly printed Cargo Facts newsletter, to click here for more information.

Many separate industry sources have independently told Cargo Facts that the A320 passenger-to-freighter conversion program is about to be postponed, with an official announcement expected today (Friday 03 June).

As it currently stands, the program is spearheaded by Airbus Freighter Conversions (AFC), a joint venture of EFW (EADS’ MRO and conversion arm), Airbus, and Russian aerospace companies UAC and Irkut, with EFW holding a 32% stake, Airbus 18%, and the two Russian firms holding 25% each. The program was launched with an order for up to 30 conversions from Netherlands-based lessor AerCap, however, Cargo Facts believes that at least one other order was in late-stage negotiation at the time of the program's suspension. The only end user so far identified by AerCap is Sweden-based West Atlantic, which had agreed to take three A320Fs, one in 2012, and the remaining two in 2013.

The conformity aircraft (ex-Tunisair, msn 211) was inducted at EFW’s Dresden facility in April (although actual conversion work was not scheduled to start until later this year).