EFW flying high with A300/310 conversions

The prospects for converting Airbus passenger aircraft into freighters is promising for EADS Elbe Flugzeugwerke GmbH (EFW) according to the conversion division of Airbus' parent company, EADS.

Airbus Freighter Conversion GmbH Andreas Sperl conversion EFW

“There is a lot of market demand for mid-sized regional cargo aircraft with 30 to 60 tons of payload in the mid and long-term,” confirms Andreas Sperl, managing director of the Dresden-based EADS subsidiary.

This year his firm converts 14 Airbus models A300 or A310 into freight planes. It could have been some more, Sperl admits, however, two slots were blocked by two A330 passenger aircraft that were supposed to be transformed into tanker craft for the US Air Force.

The two aircraft were for demonstration purposes after Airbus together with US partner Northrop Grumman originally succeeded in winning the bid for delivering a fleet of up to 179 airborne refueling aircraft based on the passenger variant A330.

This contract, however, was put on hold after heavy Boeing pressure on politicians in Washington. Consequently, the re-shaping works on the first A330 tanker plane in Dresden have been postponed for the time being, maybe until next year. “We are sure to win the tanker contract again since we offer the better product,” the EFW manager adds confidently.

Meanwhile, the two A330 conversion slots could not be filled with A310 or A330 in the short term. “We need some time and preparation for covering the two vacant positions the A330 left at our production line. That’s why we fall two planes short of the average number of yearly conversion in 2008,” Sperl resumes.