African cargo carrier Astral Aviation will operate the world’s first-ever Airbus A320 passenger to freighter (P2F) aircraft. 

ST Engineering will be carrying out the conversion and expects to place the first A320 P2F jet on lease in the second quarter of 2022. The company plans to lease a total of five Airbus A320 P2F aircraft to Vaayu Group, an aviation solutions provider based in the United Arab Emirates.  

Subsequently, Astral Aviation will become the launch customer for A320 P2F jet by sub-leasing it from Vaayu Group. 

“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,” Yip Heng Meng, EVP/head of Aviation Asset Management at ST Engineering, said in a press statement. 

Meng added: “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.” 

The A320 P2F aircraft conversion is part of the ST Engineering, Airbus, and Elbe Flugzeugwerke P2F narrowbody program. In addition, ST Engineering is currently in the process of converting the Airbus A321 passenger aircraft to a freighter. 

“The A320/A321P2F conversion programs are the first in its size category with easy-to-operate volumetric usability that offers both main deck and lower deck containerized loading,” the statement from ST Engineering continued.