Published on December 4th, 2017 | by Mark Dwyer


First Passenger-to-Freighter A330 delivered to ASL Airlines

Photo above by Rex – EDDC

Irish based ASL Airlines has become the first airline in the world to take delivery of an Airbus A330-300 Passenger-to-Freighter (P2F). The A330P2F programme offers a passenger-to-freighter conversion opportunity for A330s that have completed their useful operational service as commercial jetliners. The aircraft is registered EI-HEA (ex. D-AAEA and 9M-MKI) and previously operated for Malaysian Airlines. EI-HEA will operate for DHL Express and was converted from its passenger configuration by Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW), a joint venture between ST Aerospace and Airbus. Both the A330-200 and A330-300 versions are eligible for the P2F conversion.

The delivery, which took place at EFW’s freighter conversion facilities in Dresden last week, follows completion of test flights in October and awarding of the supplemental type certificate (STC) by EASA in November. DHL Express  signed a contract to convert four Airbus A330-300 passenger aircraft into 61-tonne payload, 26-pallet, freighters in July 2016 and ordered a further four at the Paris Air Show this year with options on another 10. DHL plans to deploy its first A330-300P2F in its Asia-Pacific network, where express delivery volumes continue to outpace those in the rest of the world.  Conversion work on the second aircraft, also scheduled for redelivery by year’s end, is ongoing at ST Aerospace’s facility in Paya Lebar, Singapore. This one is planned to become EI-HEB and is ex. CS-TRI of HiFly.

EI-HEA pictured at Dresden last week shortly before delivery. Airbus

“We believe the A330-300P2F, with its favourable payload and range metrics, will address an important demand segment within the air cargo market that is not currently served by any other aircraft type,” said Geoff Kehr, senior v-pt, Global Air Fleet Management of DHL Express. “It will further strengthen the global air network of DHL Express and help us to achieve even greater efficiencies in our aviation operations.”

Launched in 2012, the A330P2F conversion program involves ST Aerospace, Airbus and their EFW joint venture. ST Aerospace, as the program and technical lead for the engineering development phase, holds responsibility for applying for the STCs from EASA and the FAA. Airbus contributes to the program with OEM data and certification support, while EFW leads the industrialisation and marketing. As part of the agreement, EFW has become the European centre for ST Aerospace’s global maintenance, repair and overhaul operations.

The A330P2F program consists of two variants, the A330-200P2F and the larger A330-300P2F. The large number of passenger A330s in service provides a source of aircraft to support the freighter conversion for many years. The A330P2F programme offers a passenger-to-freighter conversion opportunity for A330s that have completed their useful operational service as commercial jetliners.  The A330P2F is complementary to Airbus’ new-production A330-200F freighters, as the converted aircraft address a different price-point and end-users, based on separate operational requirements. The global market has already proven it can support both new-production freighters and converted freighter products using the same aircraft platform as the basis according to Airbus.

Of the approximately 2,700 freighters required during the next 20 years, about half of the total demand will be required in the mid-sized segment of the A330 – including some 900 conversions.  As the mid-sized freighter segment has always been the largest in terms of demand, the replacement cycle is continuous.  The A330-300P2F will carry up to 60 metric tonnes over a distance of 2,200 nautical miles, or 61 tonnes to a range of 3,600 nautical miles for the higher MTOW variants. The A330-200P2F has a payload capacity of up to 59 tonnes on ranges to 4,000 nautical miles. More than 1,600 A330s have been ordered, with over 1,300 delivered to date since the A330’s service entry in 1994.

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About the Author

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.

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