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16 July 2008
16. July 2008 Commercial Aircraft

AerCap becomes launch customer for new Airbus A320/A321 freighter

Netherland based leasing company AerCap today signed a firm contract with Airbus Freighter Conversion GmbH (AFC) to convert 30 of AerCap's passenger A320/A321s into freighter aircraft (P2F).

"The A320 and A321P2Fs are setting new standards in the feeder freighter market", says Klaus Heinemann, Chief Executive Officer of AerCap. "This order will strengthen and expand our portfolio with the most and only modern aircraft in the small freighter segment."

"We are very proud that AerCap, as a leading global aviation company, is the launch customer for this all new freighter aircraft", says Lars Becker, CEO of AFC. "We anticipate about 400 Airbus Single Aisle aircraft to be converted from 2012 to 2026. The first A320 P2F will be ready in 2011. After ramp up, we plan to convert around 30 A320 family aircraft per year."

"The state-of-the-art A320/A321P2F address the future growth of the air cargo market and target at the replacement of the ageing small freighters in service today", says Christian Scherer, Airbus Executive Vice President Strategy and Future Programmes. "These modern fly-by-wire aircraft will bring new levels of efficiency to freight operations. In addition, this new application will further extend the service-life of the successful A320 Family far into the 21st century and boost their residual value. We see a substantial market demand."

"The conversion of A320 Family aircraft is an important project for UAC", adds Alexey Fedorov, UAC President. "Irkut Corporation, a member of UAC, is acting as a key player in this project. At the moment we are preparing a platform for P2F conversion, which will be located in Zhukovskij, perspective centre of Russian aircraft industry."

Oleg Demchenko, Irkut corporation President, added: "The signature of the contract with the launch customer is an important milestone in the realisation of the joint project. We are happy that one of the leading international leasing companies AerCap became our launch customer. The interest to A320/A321 conversion, demonstrated by a number of companies, shows that the product is in demand on the world market."

"With 160 converted widebody freighter aircraft delivered to customers worldwide, EADS EFW is well known as the Airbus freighter conversion expert. In this new project launched, we contribute our know-how for the benefit of all partners and customers to meet the market demand for a new smaller Airbus converted freighter," said Dr. Andreas Sperl, President and CEO of EADS EFW. The Airbus A320 Family passenger to freighter conversion is an ideal extension of today?s product portfolio."

About AFC:
Airbus Freighter Conversion GmbH (AFC) is responsible for the conversion of Airbus A320/A321 Family aircraft. The company is the interface to the customer and responsible for programme coordination, marketing and sales, customer contracts and the delivery of the converted aircraft. AFC is an EADS EFW, Airbus, UAC and Irkut joint company, headquartered in Dresden, Germany. The establishment of AFC in March 2007 marked a new step in the long-term, extensive cooperation programme between Russian and European industries. Russian share in the Joint Venture equals 50% and is divided between UAC (25%) and Irkut (25%). The other 50% are divided between EADS EFW (32%) and Airbus (18%). After ramping up the conversion line at the EFW facilities in Dresden, Germany, a second conversion line will be established in Zhukovskij, Russia.

About the A320/A321P2F:
Belonging to the A320 Family, the world's best selling aircraft with more than 3,500 already delivered and another 2,600 aircraft in the backlog, the A320/A321 Passenger To Freighter (P2F) converted aircraft is the only modern solution in the small freighter market segment and therefore the best freighter aircraft for the growing express market worldwide. Payload varies from 21 to 28 metric tonnes and the aircraft's range will be up to 2,100nm/3,700 km. Based on its initial design and wider fuselage section, it is possible to carry bulk or containerized freight in the belly holds, which is a unique feature in this market segment, delivering more loading flexibility. In addition, the A320/A321P2F will be the most environmental friendly freighter aircraft in the world with unmatched reductions of fuel-burn, emissions and noise. The first conversion will be ready in 2011, start of serial production will be in early 2012. By 2016 the annual production is expected to reach 37 aircraft.

Airbus is an EADS Company.

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