Titan Airways enters the A321 cargo market

By Damian Brett

Titan Airways A321P2F Source - ST Engineering

UK charter airline Titan Airways has taken delivery of its first A321 passenger-to-freighter (P2F) conversion on lease from BBAM.

In total, the airline has committed to three of the aircraft, with the second unit — also on lease from BBAM — due to be delivered later this month.

The third unit will be converted in the second half of 2021 and will be owned directly by Titan, which also operates two B737-400Fs.

The aircraft also represents BBAM’s first A321 converted freighter. Conversion work was carried out by ST Engineering, Airbus and their joint venture, Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW).

Titan Airways managing director Alastair Willson said: “We are delighted to take delivery of our first A321P2F from BBAM and EFW. Titan Airways has over 32 years of successful freight and passenger operations, and has been an Airbus operator since 2013.

“The A321P2F will enable us to utilise all the benefits of this type into our air freight activities including best-in-class economics, reduced noise, a lower carbon footprint and real time health monitoring, ensuring the highest levels of reliability.”

Steve Zissis, president and chief executive of BBAM, said: “ST Engineering, Airbus and EFW’s A321P2F programme delivers strongly in the areas of innovativeness and value enhancement. We are pleased to partner with them and our customer, Titan Airways on a solution that fully meets our customer’s requirements and drives value for our investors.”

The A321P2F is the first in its size category to offer containerised loading in both the main (up to 14 full container positions) and lower deck (up to 10 container positions).

The model has a payload of over 28 metric tons, with further upside potential in future conversions.

“We want to thank our customer, BBAM and operator of this freighter, Titan Airways for entrusting us with growing their freighter fleet with a new member of the Airbus freighter family,” said Andreas Sperl, chief executive of EFW.

“As our A321P2F programme steadily gains traction with more redeliveries, we will, together with our parent companies ST Engineering and Airbus, double down on delivering this innovative solution to the market and capturing more narrowbody freighter market share.”

To meet the rising demand for A321P2F, ST Engineering, along with EFW, plans to set up additional conversion sites in China, the US and Germany which will ramp up its global conversion capacity to 25 slots per year by 2023. 

Several companies are launching A321 conversion programmes as the industry seeks alternatives to the B737Fs and B757Fs. The loss of bellyhold capacity – due to the Covid crisis — has also driven up demand for freighters, while all-cargo feedstock prices have reduced as airlines look to offload unwanted metal.

These factors have led to increased demand for conversions.

The first converted A321 aircraft entered service for Qantas late last year.

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