Vallair unveils first temporary Airbus A330-300 E Class freighter conversion

By Rebecca Jeffrey

A330-300 Class-E conversion. Source: Vallair

Vallair has unveiled what is understood to be the first ever temporary Airbus A330-300 E Class widebody freighter conversion solution at its new hangar in Châteauroux, France.

Designed to bridge the gap while operators currently wait five years or more for full freighter conversion slots, this temporary solution is the result of a joint investment between France-based companies Vallair and UUDS Group, which is Part 21 certified.

Vallair’s E Class solution uses a conveyor that fits inside the cargo hold to efficiently load and distribute individual parcels, rather than using pallets or containers to load.

The design is expected to enable fast loading and reduce turnaround times to suit the needs of e-commerce in particular.

EASA approval using a Supplemental Type Certificate is expected within the next two months.

The new hangar can accommodate two Airbus A330 aircraft, or one Airbus A330 and up to three Airbus A321s at any one time, which means that Vallair now has the ability to perform both wide and narrowbody maintenance.

Grégoire Lebigot, founder, president and chief executive of Vallair, said: “Innovation is and has always been integral to Vallair’s DNA. Turning the Airbus A330-300 upper deck into a cargo area without installing the large cargo door means that the conversion cost will be just a quarter of the cost compared to a conversion with one.

“Turnaround time will be just around one month instead of six – so the benefits are clear to see. Also, it is the very first ‘made in France’ cargo conversion programme for a widebody aircraft, and Vallair is proud to spearhead this efficient, industry-leading process as part of its re-industrialisation of aviation in the region.”

 “This solution addresses current market needs and increases the value of the asset because it is completely reversible should the market change” added Lebigot.  “The aircraft can easily be converted back to PAX configuration, or transformed into a freighter with a large cargo door in future.  It is a complementary alternative solution to the traditional freighter conversion, not a replacement.”

France-based Regio Lease is the associated CAMO partner, while Deucalion Aviation Limited is the asset manager of the first two aircraft to be converted into E-class configuration. These recognised experts reinforce the credibility and practicality of the E Class conversion.

The first two Deucalion Aviation Limited managed Airbus A330-300 aircraft are already in Châteauroux and scheduled to undertake the E Class conversion at Vallair which will offer around 60 tonnes of payload and a range of approximately 4,200nm.

Lebigot added that Vallair plans to add other Airbus and Boeing models to its capability list in the near future.

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