Elbe Flugzeugwerke GmbH (EFW) and Sichuan Haite Hi-Tech (Haite) have announced signing a Letter of Intent (LoI) to add another conversion line for the Airbus A321 P2F program.
The Germany-based EFW, jointly owned by Airbus (45%) and Singapore-based ST Aerospace (55%), signed the LoI with the China-based Maintenance and Repair Organization (MRO) Haite on February 22, 2023. The two companies will collaborate on adding more capacity for the Airbus A321 Passenger-to-Freighter (P2F) conversion program, with a new line of conversions opening in Tianjin, China.
Conversions currently take place in three locations globally: San Antonio, United States, Singapore, and Guangzhou, China. Tianjin, China, is also the location of the Final Assembly Line (FAL) of the Airbus A320 family, which includes the A319, A320, and A321 FALs, as well as a widebody aircraft Completion & Delivery Centre (C&DC) for the A330 and A350.
“We are pleased to gain a renowned partner in China through our latest collaboration with Haite, which is well experienced in freighter conversions,” said Jordi Boto, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of EFW. According to Boto, the partnership between the two companies “will greatly support our strategy to expand the global network for our narrowbody P2F program” by also bolstering EFW’s positions in China.
Meanwhile, Wan Tao, the chairman of Haite, noted that the LoI and potential partnership is an “exciting milestone for us to work on the preferred conversion solution”.
“I look forward to strengthening our mutually beneficial partnership in the long run,” Tao added.
EFW converted the first A321 P2F in October 2020, delivering it to Vallair, an asset manager focused on second-hand aircraft, who handed the converted narrowbody jet to Qantas. The Australian airline has been operating the aircraft, registered VH-ULD, on behalf of the Australian Post. Qantas has two more A321 P2Fs in its fleet, delivered in September 2021 and December 2021.