PARIS: DHL Express has ordered another four A330-300 passenger-to-frieghter conversion planes, with additional options for 10 more, from Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW), a joint venture between ST Aerospace and Airbus. 

The contract was signed on Monday (Jun 19) at the Paris Airshow. It was witnessed by Singapore’s Second Minister for Defence Ong Ye Kung and chief of the Saxon State Chancellery and State Minister for Federal and European Affairs Dr Fritz Jaeckel.

This is the second such contract with EFW, after DHL Express made orders last July to convert four A330-300 passenger airplanes to freighter versions. Work has already begun on the first aircraft in Germany, and is on track to be redelivered by the end of 2017.

DHL Express was the company’s first customer for the A330 passenger-to-freighter (P2F) programme that was launched in 2012.

Speaking to Channel NewsAsia, ST Aerospace president Lim Serh Ghee said that despite the volatility in the geopolitical arena, the outlook for the global air cargo sector remains positive, and will continue to drive the demand for freighter aircraft. 

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“Boeing actually forecast that there will be about 2,400 freighters that will be redelivered due 2025; about 1,400 of these freighter delivered will be through conversion. And out of the 1,400, around 700 will be in the medium-sized freighter market, so I’m hopeful that the A330 programme will get a good share of this market,” said Mr Lim. 

DHL Express’ senior vice-president of global air fleet management Geoff Kehr added that the company expects the aircraft to help achieve greater efficiencies in its aviation operations. “We believe the A330-300P2F, with its favourable payload and range metrics, will address an important demand segment within the air cargo market that is not currently served by any other aircraft type,” he said. 

The A330P2F programme includes two versions – the A330-200P2F and the larger A330-300P2F. DHL Express is EFW’s first customer for the A330-300P2F conversion programme, while a launch contract with EgyptAir Cargo was secured in December 2014 for the A330-200P2F conversion programme.

ST Aerospace, a maintenance, repairs and overhauls service provider, earlier announced that it has developed capabilities to conduct heavy maintenance for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner in the United States, the first company to do so in the region. 

Courtesy of Channel News Asia