The newest Airbus A330 of the carrier is the first of its kind in China to undergo passenger-to-freight conversion.
Sichuan Airlines, based in Chengdu, has added one more Airbus A330-300 passenger-to-freighter (P2F) conversion to its fleet, bringing the total to four.
Elbe Flugzeugwerke and Shanghai Technologies Aerospace Company (STARCO) are converting an airplane with the registration B-32D2 at their facilities in Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG), making it the first P2F adaption by Elbe Flugzeugwerke to take place in China.
The delivery to Sichuan Airlines occurs simultaneously with the declaration that the modified A330 P2F has received official certification from the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC), covering both the -200 and -300 types converted in China by Elbe Flugzeugwerke and abroad.Elbe Flugzeugwerke will convert an additional 13 A330s for Sichuan Airlines’ lessor CDB Aviation, and the airline will receive two of the modified aircraft.
The 15-year-old widebody, which is propelled by two Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines, first flew for China Southern Airlines as B-6112 in 2008 and stayed with the company until early 2021. The aircraft operated as 9H-SMC until it was converted in Shanghai earlier this year during a brief stint with SmartLynx Malta.
According to Air Cargo News, the aircraft will be used on Sichuan Airlines’ three times weekly cargo service between Chengdu (CTU) and Budapest (BUD). Budapest serves as a freight gateway to Eastern and Central Europe for Asian operators, with shipments between the two cities mainly focusing on import-export cargo and e-commerce.
As the first A330 P2F to arrive in China, this redelivery represents a significant milestone for Sichuan Airlines and the country as a whole, according to Jie Chen, Chief Executive Officer of CDB Aviation.We are appreciative of Sichuan Airlines for choosing CDB Aviation to support their creative fleet strategy as a partner and for becoming the first Chinese client for the A330 P2F. The airline will continue to support the nation’s quickly increasing air freight sector with the addition of this aircraft to its roster.
The airline stated earlier this year that it would be the first Chinese operator of the Airbus A321 PCF, which is currently being ordered by the Sichuan Aviation Industry Development (SAID) fund. The first aircraft, an ex-Air Macau jet that is 20 years old, is now being converted at Chengdu Airport by the Sichuan Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Company (SMECO), with redelivery set for Q4 2023.According to SAID President Chen Bo, the aircraft will be used for express freight and general cargo services because to its smaller size and type reliability.
Sichuan Airlines operates around 200 active aircraft, predominantly Airbus A320 family jets, for short and medium-haul flights, covering its entire passenger and freight fleet. For its long-haul network, the carrier also runs five A350s and 10 A330s with ten passengers each. Through lessors AerCap, the airline will acquire eight additional A350s over the course of the following few years.