Source: ATW online Author: Brian Straus 05/17/2006
Airbus has chosen Russia as its initial partner in the eventual passenger-to-freighter conversion of its A320 family aircraft, announcing yesterday at the ILA Airshow in Berlin the execution of a preliminary cooperation agreement with EADS EFW, MiG and Irkut.Conversion activities for A320s and A321s will include design, kit production, conversion and maintenance and are scheduled to begin in Russia in 2011. This is the first announcement of any A320 passenger-to-freighter conversion program.
"Through this new agreement, the cooperation between Airbus and Russian aerospace industry, which has already been highly successful, will move to a completely new level based upon long-term partnership," said Airbus President and CEO Gustav Humbert, who was among the signatories.
EADS and Rosaviakosmos signed an LOI in 2001 outlining Airbus's plan to offer Russian companies $800 million in business over 10 years. Airbus said it will raise that figure by $100 million "due to the success of the program." It noted that nine Russian and CIS airlines operate 40 Airbus aircraft.
MosNews reported that the conversion contracts may be worth up to $900 million to the Russian companies, with annual revenues of $250-$300 million. According to Kommersant, Irkut will produce the necessary components and the conversions will take place at a MiG facility in Lukovitsky. EADS agreed to purchase 10% of Irkut in December (ATWOnline, Jan. 5).