ST Engineering announced this week that its Commercial Aerospace business has signed an agreement to lease up to five Airbus A320 Passenger-to-Freighter (P2F) aircraft to Vaayu Group (Vaayu).
Astral Aviation, one of the world’s fastest growing all-cargo airlines based in Nairobi, Kenya, will be the launch operator for the first two of the five A320P2F aircraft by sub-leasing them from Vaayu.
The first A320P2F, which is being converted by ST Engineering, is expected to be placed on lease in 2Q 2022.
This will also be the world’s first A320P2F aircraft to go into operation.
ST Engineering will convert and lease the remaining four freighter aircraft progressively.
Yip Heng Meng, EVP/Head of Aviation Asset Management at ST Engineering, said: “We are excited to welcome Vaayu as our first A320P2F lessee customer, and for Astral Aviation to be the first airline in the world to operate such a platform.
“As an aviation asset solution provider that is backed by other integrated lifecycle capabilities including freighter conversion and MRO, we are able to provide comprehensive solutions not offered by other service providers, and help operators gain a competitive edge.”
Emad Al Monayea, Chairman and President, Vaayu Group, said: “The upside of the pandemic was an increase of sales in e-commerce space.
“For freighters and cargo handlers worldwide, this was unexpected.
“We saw this coming. We simply fast-tracked the process; from conception to a reality in this A320P2F programme.”
Sanjeev Gadhia, CEO at Astral Aviation, said: “We are truly honored to be the launch operator for the A320P2F which is also the first Airbus in Astral’s fleet of 14 freighter aircraft.
“The Airbus range of freighter aircraft are impressive and will add immense value to Astral’s fleet and network expansion, which will result in Astral considering future freighter aircraft acquisitions of the A320, A321, A330-300 and A350.”