Malaysia-based Raya Airways will lease four Airbus narrowbody Passenger-to-Freighter (P2F) aircraft from ST Engineering as it looks to respond to growing demand.
The tie-up will see the company lease two A320P2Fs and two A321P2Fs following the conversion of the aircraft by Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW), which is the joint venture between ST Engineering and Airbus.
Conversion for the first aircraft, an A321, has started at ST Engineering’s facility in Singapore with expected delivery in the fourth quarter of 2022.
Raya Airways’ group managing director Mohamad Najib Ishak said: “The air cargo industry, being an integral part of the global supply chain, is expected to grow in tandem with the global economy.
“The recent industry outlook by IATA states that cargo volumes are expected to set a record high of 68.4m tonnes in 2022 with cargo revenues expected to account for $191bn of industry revenues.
“With the introduction of the A320P2Fs and A321P2Fs into our fleet, we are able to scale up our operational capacity to meet the growing demand, whilst being able to reduce the carbon footprint as we push forward our sustainability agenda.”
The airline’s chief commercial officer, MD Hidayat Rahim, added: “These are truly exciting times at Raya Airways as the added payload capacity will enable us to add numerous major routes to further expand the company’s footprint in the region.
“Once converted, each A321P2F will offer 27 tonnes while each A320P2F will offer 21 tonnes, effectively increasing Raya Airways’ combined payload by up to 96 tonnes. Our commitment to our clients is that wherever there are economic centres with robust future prospects, Raya Airways aims to be there,” he added.
The carrier currently operates services between regional hubs in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam as well as in east Malaysia, namely Kota Kinabalu, Kuching and Labuan.
“We are delighted to enter our first freighter aircraft leasing partnership with Raya Airways,” said Yip Hin Meng, executive vice president and head of aviation asset management at ST Engineering.
“Our unique leasing solutions such as the bundling of aircraft leasing with MRO services, when combined with in-house developed P2F programmes and top-notch conversion standards, offer operators best-in-class economics and unparalleled levels in reliability.”