DHL Express on Friday became the first operator to take delivery of the A330-300 Passenger-to-Freighter (P2F) conversion from Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW), the joint venture between ST Aerospace and Airbus. The delivery, which took place at EFW’s freighter conversion facilities in Dresden, follows completion of test flights in October and awarding of the supplemental type certificate (STC) by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in November. DHL Express placed firm orders for eight A330-300P2F units in total, and holds options on another 10.
DHL plans to deploy its first A330-300P2F in its Asia-Pacific network, where express delivery volumes continue to outpace those in the rest of the world.
Launched in 2012, the A330P2F conversion program involves ST Aerospace, Airbus and their EFW joint venture. ST Aerospace, as the program and technical lead for the engineering development phase, holds responsibility for applying for the STCs from EASA and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Airbus contributes to the program with OEM data and certification support, while EFW leads the industrialization and marketing. As part of the agreement, EFW has become the European center for ST Aerospace’s global maintenance, repair and overhaul operations.
The A330P2F program consists of two variants: the A330-200P2F and the larger A330-300P2F. Airbus calls the larger airplane ideal for serving the international express and e-commerce cargo markets, which typically involve higher volume and lower density operations. The aircraft can carry up to 62 metric tons over 3,650 nautical miles, while offering 20-percent more cargo volume and lower cost-per-ton than other available freighter aircraft types with a similar range, according to Airbus. The partners expect to deliver the first A330-200P2F to EgyptAir next year.