All-cargo airline Pradhaan Air Express has received its first converted A320 freighter aircraft as part of its plans to operate a fleet of four planes by next year. The Delhi-based cargo carrier earlier this month secured the no-objection certificate from the Civil Aviation Ministry to start a cargo carrier.
On July 15th, ST Engineering and Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW) announced the redelivery of the Airbus A320 Passenger-to-Freighter (A320P2F) aircraft to launch customer Vaayu Group (Vaayu) at ST Engineering’s airframe facility in Singapore.
This A320 P2F is owned by the aviation asset management business of ST Engineering and is the first of several converted freighter aircraft that will be leased to Vaayu. ST Engineering’s Commercial Aerospace business had signed an agreement in February to lease up to five Airbus A320P2F aircraft to Vaayu Group (Vaayu).
The A320P2F can accommodate up to 10 (ULD) containers and one pallet position in the main deck, and seven container positions in the lower deck. Given its gross payload of up to 21 tonnes at a maximum range of 1,850NM and total usable containerized volume of 159 m3, the freighter aircraft has 85% stowage efficiency.
The 21-tons payload capacity cargo plane with a fully palletized main deck will offer charter capacity to domestic shippers and freight forwarders on domestic as well as international routes. The converted freighter will also be available for on-demand cargo charters.
The aircraft will enter into service for Pradhaan Air Express, a new all-cargo airline in India and a sub-lessee of Vaayu. Pradhaan Air announced on July 6 that it has received the No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the civil aviation ministry and is expected to begin commercial operations later this year.
Pradhaan Air’s first converted A320 cargo plane, named Pehalwan arrived at Delhi Airport on Saturday, July 16 evening.
“The arrival of the aircraft marks the completion of another critical phase and brings us closer to our Air Operator Permit to kick start the commercial operations very soon. We look forward to keeping up the positive momentum, aiming at further fleet expansion.
The airline is expected to take the second A320 P2F (passenger aircraft to freighter) by this year-end with further fleet expansion under consideration, he said. “The airline intends to add two A321 freighters to its fleet as well by next year.”Nipun Anand, CEO & Founder, Pradhaan Air Express
With this key development, Pradhaan Air Express is moving towards leveraging the boom in the air cargo industry, which has rebounded after the pandemic.
According to data from ch-aviation, the 16.34-year-old twinjet entered service with TAM in April 2006 as PR-MBB.
After just over a decade flying for the Brazilian carrier, it spent just over a year at Spire Flight Solutions as M-IBAL. However, it remained unused during this time. From April 2018 to October 2020, it served Indian carrier IndiGo as VT-IHM, before joining ST Engineering for its conversion in February 2021.
One of the most significant changes in aviation during the pandemic has been the shift in perception of the cargo side of the business. India is far behind others in the industry when it comes to dedicated cargo operations. However, major airlines such as IndiGo and SpiceJet are veering towards the sector, joining other established players in the country such as Blue Dart.