The Airbus 321P2F (passenger to Freighter), lets talk first about the A321 before conversion project.
The A321 is passenger aircraft from the A320 family, its a narrow body (single-aisle) aircraft, having medium range and twin engines. The aircraft can carry up to 236 passengers.
It started service in 1994 with the same baseline of the A320, first airline company to buy it was Lufthansa, but American Airlines is now the largest operator of the A321.
Airbus announced a while ago the new generation of the A320 Family, The A320neo. The difference is in the engine performance (more fuel efficiency) with some additional upgrades in fuselage and specially in aerodynamics.
The A321 has been in passenger service since 1994 and time has came to convert it to freighter (P2F project.) with some improvements and upgrades and it recently made its maiden flight after they modified it at ST Engineering’s facility.
The modifications includes a large main door for the deck cargo in the forward of the fuselage and removal of some passengers doors, in specific the forward left door is replaced by smaller one to compensate the amount of cargo entering and position in main door deck.
The A321 P2F can hold space up to 14 containers or pallets on the primary deck in addition to 10 LD3 containers, A type of container used specially in aircrafts, in the rearward of the aircraft, In advantage to its fuel efficiency.
It was expected to receive its airworthiness authority certificate in the first quarter of 2020 from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), but delays happened due the COVID-19 and it took much longer than expected.
Airbus Chief Commercial Officer Christian said;
“We are very pleased to participate in the A321P2F programme, which is now taking off in the market,”
Airbus predicts that in next 20 years there will be more than 1000 aircraft converted from passenger to freighter, by replacing the old ones this will lead to increase in the fleet and the A321 P2F market.