MIAMI – SmartLynx Airlines’ (6Y) Maltese subsidiary has completed the conversion of two Airbus A321 into freighter versions this week.

The two Airbus MSN 891 and MSN 1017 are ready to set a new goal for an Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance, and Insurance (ACMI) lease from the AviaSolution Partner group. AviaSolution seeks to increase the number of the Airbus A321PCF version up to ten.

According to 6Y’s press release, the carrier is the first operator to have A321-200F converted by both 321 Precision Conversions and Elbe Flugzeugwerke.

SmartLynks A320 Taking Off Photo: SmartLynks Estonia

The Aircraft and the Cargo Business

Both are high-quality products, and despite minor differences in direct operational costs, the company decided to go with both STC’s to be able to offer its customer flexibility to compare and choose according to their requirements.

Although the cargo market was already previewed by 6Y during its 2019 business plan, the impact of COVID-19 on Commercial aviation for tourism and business gave the carrier a push to develop its plan for its cargo business to keep the airline competitive and allow it to start a service which, right now, is reaping high revenue.

Main deck of the A321PCF Photo: Aircraft Precision Solutions

More A321 Freighter in the Future

SmartLynx, with its subsidiaries, is planning to add eight more aircraft in the next three years, reaching 10 units by 2023. All aircraft are from Airbus.

The airline, as per the press release, as it looked into Boeing 737 Classics, 737NGS and A321, for its operational cost and its favorable results regarding CO2 emission, chose the A321 for the advantages given compared to the other possible choices.

A321PFC Maiden Flight Photo: Aircraft Precision Solutions

A321 Precision Conversion and Elbe Flugzeugwerke

The new Airbus A321 Freighter version, aka A321PCF, has been developed by Precision Aircraft Solutions, and it is a new concept for the re-use of former A321 passenger aircraft for freighter purposes.

In a joint venture with Air Transport Services Group (ATSG), Precision Aircraft Solutions has developed an A321-200PCF -based freighter with the highest revenue payload and customer-driven design features. 

Coupled with the flexible TELAIR main deck cargo loading system and a lower lobe that is compatible with bulk, sliding carpet, or containerized systems, the A321 Freighter can carry the load with uncontested flexibility. 

Photo: Aircraft Precision Solutions
Sectional view of A321PCF Photo: Aircraft Precision Solutions

A321-200PCF Freighter Specs

Additionally, the A321-200PCF Freighter delivers the lightest airframe with an Operating Empty Weight well over 2000 lbs. This is lighter than its closest rival–with a design optimized for freight operations, maximum revenue loads, profitability, room for supernumeraries, and maximum fuel efficiency, according to the press release.

The new feature, listed in Precision Aircraft Solutions’ website are:

  • Lowest Operating Empty Weight
  • 14 A-Code Positions
  • Highest Standard Payload—approx. 59,680 lbs. (WV 000)
  • No OEM weight upgrade prerequisites
  • Highest occupant capacity- – 4 + 2 Crew
  • Crew Galley with baggage stowage
  • Full-Size Lavatory
  • Full-Size L1/R1 Doors retained
  • Total cargo volume 7963 Cu. Ft. (1,400 Cu. Ft. more than B737-800F)

Back in May of this year, SmartLynx Malta received the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval, enabling the airline to conduct passenger and cargo operations to, from, and transiting the United States.

Featured image: SmartLynks A320 Taking Off Photo: Nikolai Tsvetkov