Sichuan Aviation Industry Development Co, parent company of Sichuan Airlines has signed an agreement with 321 Precision Conversions to convert A321PCFs at the Sichuan Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Co. Ltd. (SMECO) facility. This deal will make Sichuan Airlines the first A321PCF operator in China. The first aircraft is scheduled for delivery in 2024.

The airline plans to add at least three converted freighters to its fleet, with the first one, an ex-Air Macau aircraft entering production this month.

“We are confident the A321-200 passenger cargo freighter is the perfect platform for future express/integrator cargo as well as general cargo. The low operating empty weight, reliability, and quality of Precision converted products is second to none,” said Chen Bo, President, Sichuan Aviation Industry Development Co.

Sichuan Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Co.’s entry into the conversion business indicates it will carry out more cargo transformations in the future either for Sichuan Airlines or possibly other customers.

It is unclear as to when Sichuan Airlines will be able to begin domestic operations with the first A321 freighter. 321 Precision recently applied to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) for certification of its conversion design for the A321.

Sichuan Airlines operates more than 180 passenger aircraft but wants to grow its small all-cargo fleet. It operates three factory-built Airbus A330-200 widebody freighters and is expected to receive two converted A330-300 freighters on lease this year.