August 08, 2017: Precision Aircraft Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of Erickson Group (EGL) of Beaverton, Oregon, and Air Transport Services Group through its subsidiary Cargo Aircraft Management (CAM) of Wilmington, Ohio, announced the formation of 321 Precision Conversions, a joint-venture company to develop a passenger-to-freighter conversion of Airbus A321-200 aircraft.
321 Precision Conversions anticipates approval of a supplemental type certificate (STC) for A321-200 conversions in 2019. PAS began feasibility analysis for A321-200 conversions in late 2011. Full-scale engineering for STC development began in the third quarter of 2016.
The 321 Precision Conversions’ A321-200 freighter will provide a best-in-class solution, fulfilling both replacement and growth needs in the narrowbody freighter market. It will deliver cube space that is commensurate to Boeing 757 freighters, and low operating costs comparable to smaller Boeing 737 freighters, making it an attractive platform for air express network operators.
The A321-200 is a variant of the Airbus A320 family of aircraft. The first A321-200 entered service in 1997 as a longer-range successor to the A321-100. As of July 30, 2017, a total of 1,425 Airbus A321-200 passenger aircraft are in service.
PAS and ATSG have a long-term relationship. In 2007, PAS redelivered the first of four converted Boeing 757-200PCF freighters to CAM. In 2011, PAS developed, certified and produced a Boeing 757-200PCC combined passenger/freighter (combi) variant for CAM. All of those CAM-owned B757-200 aircraft are operated by CAM’s sister company Air Transport International.
EGL President Steven J. Thomas commented, “Precision’s integrated business model is capable of both the engineering and certification required for an A321-200 freighter STC, and the kitting, logistics, production and customer support functions to deliver a multiple aircraft program to all its customers. This strategic alliance with ATSG for the A321-200 program underscores our complementary business models and our long history of positive business dealings over the years. We look forward to bringing this product to the market together.”
ATSG President and CEO Joe Hete said, “ATSG’s emphasis on leasing, operating, and maintaining midsize freighters has been a key to its success. Expanding our fleet to include A321-200 freighters in that segment of the market through this new partnership with Precision will supplement the shareholder value we create in the future. Our decade-long relationship with Precision for 757 conversions gives me confidence that we will bring to market another high-quality, cost-effective freighter and reliable asset to a customer segment that demands very high performance.”