Airbus' A330s head for conversion
Early orders for the program included 30 A320 and A321 conversions on behalf of AeroCap Holdings, with West Atlantic pitching in for a further three conversions. According to Airbus, the official reason cited for the cancellation of the program was that “strongly growing passenger traffic result[ed] in high demand for used A320s, thus reducing the amount of aircraft available for conversion.”
Schmid said gearing up for the A320F program has not delayed launch of the A330F schedule. “The co-existence of the A320P2F program and the A330P2F study had no timely connection with each other, and the decisions taken did not influence the conversion programs,” he said. “But this now enables us to fully concentrate on the development of the A330P2F program.”
Future conversion prospects for EADS EFW include the A340, although some argue that its extended fuselage length will make it an unsuitable conversion candidate. For Schmid, it is a more distant thought right now. “At this stage, we have decided to concentrate on the A330P2F program," he said, "but given a reasonably strong demand, we could consider including the A340-300 long-range passenger aircraft into our conversion family.”
EADS EFW has carried out more than 170 freighter conversions of Airbus aircraft on behalf of nearly 40 customers. According to its own studies, more than 3,000 freighters will be needed to accommodate growth in the air cargo market; three-quarters of that demand will have to be met by the conversion of mid-life passenger aircraft.