Vallair, the launch lessor for the Airbus A321 freighter conversion, has signed an LoI (Letter of Intent) with US based Global Crossing Airlines Inc. (GlobalX) to lease 10 converted A321 freighter aircraft.
It says this is the most significant deal in the history of the A321F to take place within the air cargo industry. Vallair has been engaged in cargo conversions since 2015 and said that “this ground-breaking agreement will see the company take its pioneering A321 freighter programme to the next level”.
“This is a unique deal undertaken by Vallair, and we are excited to be entering into partnership with GlobalX,” Vallair chief leasing officer, Alistair Dibisceglia.
“The A321F is proving to be the aircraft of choice for cargo operators world-wide. As well as offering a higher volumetric capacity, the lower cargo hold on the A321F allows for the transit of ten containers in addition to the fourteen cargo positions available on the upper cargo deck. This ability to offer containerised cargo is a real selling point for the A321F as it increases efficiency by reducing turn-around times and facilitates the weight and balance calculations.”
The first GlobalX A321 will be delivered by the third quarter of 2021. GlobalX expects all 10 A321F aircraft to be delivered and in revenue operation by the second quarter of 2023.
In a statement, the company said that the Covid-19 pandemic has seen a surge in market demand for air cargo as operators struggle to fulfill the ever-increasing requirements of e-commerce. The A321F is the ideal candidate to satisfy this need due to the availability of feedstock, with around 1100 aircraft manufactured, and younger technologies utilised by the aircraft resulting in a fuel efficient, environmentally friendly freighter variant.
On average, Vallair expects operators to see a 20 per cent reduction in fuel burn per payload.
Vallair signed its first LoI for the A321F in August 2019 with Qantas Freight and saw the maiden flight of its prototype A321F take to the skies in February 2020.
Vallair CEO Gregoire Lebigot added: “The focus of this deal for Vallair has been to make the air cargo capacity available in the Americas and we are trusting that the very experienced management of GlobalX will be successful to maximise this opportunity. It is our intention that by providing the cargo capacity to a Miami based operator, we can pave the way for freight forwarders in Northern, Southern and Central America to meet the ever rising market demands for air cargo.”
Focusing on the mature assets of the A320 and A330 aircraft, GlobalX’s aim is to provide dual capability and optionality to their clients in long range charter and ACMI and wet lease operations. In addition to augmenting its cargo capability, the Miami-based start-up airline will be one of the few in the US to offer ACMI on passenger aircraft and intends to extend this to its cargo offering.
“We are delighted to sign this LoI with Vallair,” said GlobalX CEO, Ed Wegel.
“This is an unparalleled opportunity, and we are uniquely positioned to maximise the potential. Over the next six months, we intend to secure aircraft contracts for both our current and future needs through to the end of 2022 and in agreeing this lease, Vallair has enabled us to achieve this – certainly from a freighter perspective. Our focus has always been on utilising the efficiencies of A320 family aircraft and these pioneering A321 conversions by Vallair have allowed us to extend this to our cargo capability. We are excited for the future and look forward a mutually beneficial partnership.”