Turkmenistan Airlines became Airbus‘ first customer in the Asian country by ordering two A330-200 P2F (Passenger-To-Freighter). Scheduled to be delivered in 2022, the two aircraft will be converted by the company Elbe Flugzeugwerke GmbH (EFW), a joint venture between Airbus and ST Engineering Aerospace.
The widebody to freighter conversion program was launched in 2012 and had its first prototype completed in 2017. According to Airbus, ST Engineering had the program and technical lead for the engineering development phase, while EFW is the holder and owner for all Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) for the current Airbus conversion programs including for A330P2F and leads the industrialization phase and marketing for these programs.
The A330P2F program offers two conversion options, the smaller version A330-200 and also the A330-300. The jets are capable of carrying up to 61 tons of weight to over 7,700 km. DHL and EgyptAir are among the cargo’s customers.
Interestingly, Airbus offers the A330-200 in a series production cargo version. The A330-200F is capable of carrying more cargo (up to 70 tons) over a similar distance of 7,400 km, but airframer has sought to take advantage of used passenger aircraft to take on the new role.
On its website, Airbus justifies this strategy: “The A330P2F is complementary to Airbus’ new-production A330-200F freighters, as the converted aircraft address a different price-point and end-users, based on separate operational requirements”.
Unlike Boeing, which offers several new cargo planes, Airbus still does not participate with so much emphasis in this market. This situation tends to change in the coming years due to the conversion programs of the A320 family that are underway.