ST Engineering’s joint venture with Airbus, Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW), has received a Supplement Type Certificate (STC) from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for its A321 Passenger-to-Freighter (P2F) conversion. The STC comes only a month after the prototype unit, scheduled for delivery to launch customer Vallair, flew for the first time.
The first flight test took place on January 22 after undergoing conversion at ST Engineering’s facility in Singapore. “The swift process in attaining EASA’s STC shortly after our first flight test is a testament to the engineering and design strengths of our P2F solution,” said Lim Serh Ghee, president of ST Engineering’s aerospace sector.
Under the terms of the joint venture contract signed in 2015, ST Engineering assumed responsibility for the engineering development phase, up to obtaining the STC from EASA and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. Airbus contributes to the program with OEM data and certification support, onboard computer development, airframe engineering, flight physics, and flight-testing expertise, while EFW serves as the STC holder, leads the overall program, and does marketing and sales.
In other significant milestones, the program recently gained traction among operators and lessors with a letter of intent between Keystone Holdings—an ST Engineering aircraft leasing joint venture—and Qantas for the conversion and leasing of an A321P2F. The aircraft, slated for conversion at ST Engineering’s facility in Singapore and delivery at the end of 2021, now operates under lease in passenger duty for Qantas.
Meanwhile, two new orders from BBAM, a global aircraft lease management firm, mark another milestone for the A321P2F program. Following an LOI announced on June 20, 2019, BBAM signed an agreement in December for several A321P2F conversions. The first A321P2F unit for BBAM arrived for conversion at ST Engineering’s facility last month, and the conversion of the second unit will start in March.