EFW Teams With Turkish Technic On Airbus A330 P2F Conversions
Dresden-based Airbus conversion specialist Elbe Flugzeugwerke GmbH (EFW) plans to work with MRO specialist Turkish Technic on Airbus A330 passenger-to-freighter (P2F) conversions to meet growing demand for the aircraft type.
The first Turkish Technic A330P2F conversion is set to be carried out at the company’s Istanbul facility in the third quarter of 2023.
Under the agreement, Turkish Technic becomes the first MRO company to provide third-party conversion solutions for EFW’s A330P2F program. The move is the latest development in Airbus and ST Engineering subsidiary EFW’s bid to keep up with strong demand for its freighter conversions, which include A320P2Fs and A321P2Fs as well as the A330. The partners have in recent years set up new conversion sites in China and the U.S.
Demand for new and converted freighters has been strong since the pandemic thrust air cargo into the spotlight, as grounded long-haul flights—and a corresponding lack of belly hold capacity—led to a major capacity squeeze. While air cargo capacity and demand levels have now returned closer to pre-pandemic levels, both conversion specialists and OEMs have reported strong demand for freighters. Airbus launched the A350F in late 2021, and Boeing launched the 777-8F earlier in 2022.
“We have a growing P2F order book which mirrors a strong market demand for Airbus freighter conversions, with the A330P2F program being increasingly considered as the preferred next-generation platform in the medium to widebody category,” EFW CEO Jordi Boto said. “Through our collaboration with Turkish Technic, which has deep experience in maintaining Airbus aircraft, we will ensure meeting our customer commitments in a robust manner.”
“As the air cargo sector is experiencing extremely strong and steady growth, conversions have become an efficient solution to meet operator’s needs, thus creating an opportunity for aircraft manufacturers, MROs, airlines and leasing companies,” Turkish Technic Chairman of the Board Ahmet Bolat said. “We are happy to cooperate with EFW in their A330P2F program ... [and] we look forward to expanding our partnership further.”
EFW developed its A330P2F program in collaboration with ST Engineering and Airbus, with EFW holding the Supplemental Type Certificate and leading in the overall program as well as marketing and sales efforts. The A330P2F program has two variants–the A330-200P2F and A330-300P2F. The A330-200P2F can carry a gross payload of up to 61 tons of weight to over 7,700 km (4,800 mi.), while the A330-300P2F can carry a gross payload of up to 63 tons and a containerized volume of up to ~18.581ft.³ (~526 m³).
IATA Cargo Outlook
According to the latest figures from IATA, global air cargo demand, measured in cargo ton-kilometers (CTKs), fell 8.3% in August compared to August 2021, a slight improvement on the year-on-year decline of 9.7% seen in July. Capacity was 6.3% above August 2021, a significant expansion over the 3.6% year-on-year increase in July.
“Air cargo continues to demonstrate resilience,” IATA Director General Willie Walsh said Oct. 6. “Cargo volumes, while tracking below the exceptional performance of 2021, have been relatively stable in the face of economic uncertainties and geopolitical conflicts. Market signals remain mixed.”
Walsh said August presented several indicators with upside potential, pointing to a stabilization in oil prices in August, slowing inflation, and a slight expansion in goods traded globally.
“But the decrease in new export orders in all markets except the U.S. tells us that developments in the months ahead will need to be watched carefully,” Walsh said.