Air Transport Services Group, Inc. (ATSG), the world’s largest lessor of freighter aircraft, has committed to a total of 29 Airbus A330 Passenger-to-Freighter (P2F) conversion slots with Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW), a joint venture between ST Engineering and Airbus. The commitment reflects a strategic step by ATSG to diversify its existing in-service fleet of 117 aircraft with the addition of next-generation widebody freighters.
The A330P2F conversions for ATSG will be performed from mid-2023 through 2027 mainly at EFW’s facility in Dresden, Germany, and at a new conversion site to be set up in Shanghai, China. Multiple conversions will be carried out in parallel.
“The A330-300 passenger-to-freighter conversion is a natural next step for ATSG as it is an excellent complement to the Boeing 767-300 medium widebody freighter, which has long been the freighter of choice for the e-commerce air cargo market,” said Mike Berger, chief commercial officer of ATSG. “The availability of feedstock combined with impressive cargo capacity make the A330 a very attractive option for conversion and will enable ATSG to continue to meet the demands for full-capacity freighters long into the future. Customers’ response to the news that we will have A330-300 freighters available for lease has been exceptionally strong, and we already have customer deposits towards future leases for half of these 29 converted freighters.”
“To have a key market player like ATSG adopting the A330P2F programme with such a high commitment is a major milestone for us,” said Andreas Sperl, CEO of EFW. “This is a great sign of confidence in next-generation Airbus freighters and trust in EFW’s competency as a centre of excellence for Airbus freighter conversions.”
Similar to the latest conversion programmes, A321P2F and A320P2F, the A330P2F programme is a collaboration between ST Engineering, Airbus and EFW, which is leading the overall programme as well as marketing & sales efforts. To meet the rising demand for freighter conversions, ST Engineering and EFW are setting up new conversion sites in China and the U.S. this year, and are ramping up conversion capacity for all their Airbus P2F programmes to about 60 slots per year by 2024.
The A330P2F programme comes with two variants – the A330-200P2F and A330-300P2F – which are both equipped with advanced technology that offer airlines additional operational and economic benefits. The A330-200P2F can carry a gross payload of up to 61 tons of weight to over 7,700 km. The A330-300P2F offers a gross payload of up to 63 tons and a containerised volume of up to ~18,581ft3 (~526m3), which brings a new paradigm of efficiency with 23% more cargo volume than other freighter aircraft in the same class.