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March 4, 2024
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The Airbus A330P2F has won another contract. Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) has confirmed a previously announced commitment with Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW) to convert up to 29 A330-300s into freighters. ATSG, the world’s largest lessor of freighters, will lease them on to other customers. ATSG confirms conversion slots for up to 29 A330P2Fs.

EFW, which is a joint venture of Airbus and ST Engineering, will start work on the first aircraft by the middle of 2023 in a program that runs through 2027. Conversions will be mainly done at EFW in Dresden and at ST Engineering in China. The first delivery to a customer is scheduled for early 2024.

Already last August, ATSG said in its second-quarter earnings release that it was about to secure conversion slots for twenty A330s for its subsidiary Cargo Aircraft Management (CAM). These have now been confirmed, with an agreement for twenty firm and nine options.

The selection of the A330 means ATSG is diversifying its aircraft portfolio. Until now, the lessor has had a Boeing-only fleet of freighters, like the 757, 767-200, and -300, as well as the 777-200. In 2021, ATSG placed a record fifteen 767-300 and re-leased three -200s to customers. These include companies like Amazon Prime, Amerijet, MasAir, and its own brand Air Transport International. It has conversion slots for fifteen 767-300s between 2022 and 2025 and signed a contract with Boeing for another three on January 3.

ATSG also converts Boeing 737s through PEMCO, which is part of the same family of companies. The A321P2F will also join the portfolio of CAM in late 2022 after ATSG and the FAA approved the certification work of the type, for which it holds fifteen slots.  

Adding the A330 is a natural step

Adding the A330 to the fleet is seen as a natural step, says Chief Commercial Officer Mike Berger in a media statement: “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. The customer response to the news that we will have A330-300 freighters available for lease has been exceptionally strong, and we already have customer deposits toward future leases for half of these 29 converted freighters.”

In its 2021-results release on February 24, ATSG said: “ATSG has reserved significant passenger-to-freighter conversion capacity for Boeing 767 and Airbus A330 aircraft over the next several years, assuring its continued leadership in that steadily expanding midsize widebody space. Together with its investment in narrow-body A321 conversions best suited for smaller-volume express package and e-commerce destinations, ATSG expects to be a principal source of dedicated freighters for regional and trans-Atlantic airlift to express-package delivery networks anywhere in the world.”

EFW and ST Engineering last week delivered the first A330P2F to MasAir, which has been leased via Altavair. It has an unspecified number of A330s on order.

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Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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