ST Engg, Airbus turning passenger jet into freighter

An ST Engineering joint venture with plane-maker Airbus has secured a letter of intent from United States-based aircraft leaser BBAM for an A-321 converted freighter.

The passenger jet will be turned into a 14-pallet cargo carrier with redelivery to BBAM late next year, ST Engineering said yesterday.

A letter of intent was inked at the Paris Airshow and follows a launch contract announced last year.

The A-321 passenger-to-freighter programme was started in 2015 together with a similar one for A-320s.

Under the programme, ST Engineering handles the engineering development phase, while Airbus contributes equipment data and certification support, and their joint venture firm leads the overall programme as well as sales.

The A-321 conversion is the first such undertaking to introduce a container lower deck for narrow-body freighters.

Narrow-body jets have a single aisle through the passenger cabin as opposed to wide-body aircraft, which have two aisles.

Other conversion programmes typically offer containerised loading only in the main deck for these smaller aircraft.

"With a... capability that can carry up to 27.9 tonnes over 2,300 nautical miles, the (converted) A-321 is the ideal narrow-body freighter for express domestic and regional operations," ST Engineering said.

BBAM provides fleet and financing solutions to airline customers and manages investments in leased commercial jet aircraft.

ST Engineering shares closed unchanged at $4.17 yesterday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2019, with the headline 'ST Engg, Airbus turning passenger jet into freighter'. Print Edition | Subscribe