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May 30, 2024
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Airlines can’t get enough of the India opportunity. While the opportunity was looked at as a passenger opportunity for many years, the pandemic showed the need for freight to move around as well. While India’s BlueDart was the first off the mark many years ago with their Boeing 757 aircraft, during the pandemic, SpiceJet rapidly converted three of their Boeing 737 passenger aircraft to freighters, now being flown under the SpiceXpress livery. IndiGo intends to enter the Cargo business with IndiGo CarGo, for which their first A321P2F conversion is being completed with ST Engineering in Singapore. But there is another new entrant, which will launch operations out of Delhi in 2022 as well. 

Pradhaan Air Express, a new all-cargo airline to be based in Delhi, will begin commercial operations later this year with the world’s first A320P2F converted freighter. The first converted freighter, expected to arrive in Delhi later in July 2022, will offer charter capacity to Indian shippers and freight forwarders on domestic and international routes. Just earlier this week, the airline had been granted a no objection certificate by India’s ministry of Civil Aviation to offer cargo charters. 

The conversion was done by Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW), a joint venture of ST Engineering and Airbus, at its facility in Singapore. The aircraft has been leased from Vaayu Group / Astral Aviation. Pradhaan Air Express will be India’s first airline to operate an Airbus narrow-body freighter. The Aircraft offers a payload of 21 tons with a fully palletized main deck.

In March 2022, Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW) – a centre of excellence for Airbus freighter conversions – received the Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for its head-of-version A320 Passenger-to-Freighter (P2F) aircraft.

ST Engineering announced in February 2022, that its commercial aerospace business would lease up to five Airbus A320 Passenger-to-Freighter (P2F) aircraft to Vaayu Group (Vaayu) which is based in the UAE. These planes have been subleased by Vaayu Group to Pradhaan Air Express, in association with Astral Aviation, based in Kenya.

Nipun Anand, CEO & Founder, Pradhaan Air Express, said on the occasion: “We thank our lessor for having confidence in us to offer the world’s first A320 converted freighter for the Indian market. This will secure dedicated cargo capacity boosting the trade’s self-reliance. Getting the World’s first A320 converted freighter to India is like a dream come true. A second aircraft will be inducted by the year-end with plans for further fleet expansion.”

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Ajay Awtaney
Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe.

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