Vallair leases the first Airbus A321F in Europe to SmartLynx Malta

Vallair A321F

Vallair, the mature aircraft asset and cargo conversion specialist has delivered its second Airbus A321F freighter conversion to SmartLynx Malta.

This is the first ever A321F to be operated by a European based carrier and will be operated on behalf of DHL. 

Having received its STC from the FAA in April 2021, the aircraft bearing MSN 891 has been prepared for delivery at Vallair’s specialist MRO & Painting facility in Montpellier, France immediately following its conversion in the USA.

“We are delighted to see the successful delivery of our second A321 freighter conversion,” said Vallair director of trading & leasing, Patrick Leopold. “This is, of course, another significant milestone for Vallair and serves to showcase the full remit of our capabilities. From acquisition of suitable feedstock by our Cargo Conversions and Trading & Leasing teams and the support of our dedicated Aerostructure facility enabling us to repair and replace the thrust reversers, to the maintenance and painting carried out by our MRO team in Montpellier, at every stage and at every level Vallair has been able to ensure the safe and efficient redelivery of this aircraft.”

The company said that maintenance requirements for this aircraft were minimal, however the aircraft has been repainted in Vallair’s dedicated paint hangar in the south of France.

In parallel with the delivery of MSN891, Vallair has also been preparing its next two aircraft scheduled for conversion. By carrying out heavy maintenance in advance of induction at its Montpellier facility, Vallair anticipates a significant reduction in turn-around-time for the entire conversion process.

“Our third A321F is now scheduled for delivery in Q3 2021 and it is part of an extensive programme of A321 passenger-to-freighter conversions which will be carried out over the coming months and years,” continued Leopold. “Vallair has been a true pioneer at understanding all the potential of this aircraft and we took the decision early on to invest in the first conversions.  Converting a passenger plane to cargo is indeed an extremely complex undertaking which needs to be managed by highly experienced people – this applies not only to the physical conversion process, but also in terms of engineering and project management. The delivery of our second A321F, following the delivery of the world’s first a few months ago, is testament to the total dedication of all the teams who have brought this to fruition in such challenging times”.

“Additionally, more cargo players are using containers, and the environmental performance of the A321 freighter here is impressive.   A circa 30 per cent greater CO² emissions efficiency is generated per containerised cubic meter being flown than competitor types.  That’s an impressive achievement and a persuasive factor for customers who are increasingly conscious of ESG matters”.

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