SmartLynx Malta has signed an agreement with VALLAIR to lease two newly converted A321-200 freighters. The aircraft will be the first cargo planes to be operated by SmartLynx.
Zygimantas Surintas, chief executive, SmartLynx Airlines, commented: “Entering the freighter market was a part of our expansion strategy placed in 2019.
“When we were considering freighter models, we looked into 737 Classics, 737NGs and A321s, but the clear choice was the A321. Firstly because of its favourable results in regards to CO2 emissions compared with other models, and there is the advantage of a commodity with the rest of our fleet.
“We plan to add eight more aircraft in the next three years, reaching 10 units by 2023, all Airbus type.”
Alistair Dibisceglia, chief leasing and trading officer, VALLAIR, said:“The aircraft will be operated by SmartLynx on behalf of an international freight forwarder and will be based in Malta. The location is ideal for inter European distribution and will help to also alleviate the pressure on congested cargo hubs.”
The A321F is the greenest narrowbody freighter currently available. “Converting younger aircraft into freighters certainly has environmental advantages,” continues Dibisceglia. “As the technology used within the aircraft is younger by default, operators of this freighter can expect to see a 20% reduction in fuel burn per payload. With the surge in demand for air cargo as a result of the pandemic, and the availability of feedstock, we believe that the A321F will be the future of e-commerce and satisfy market demands for the next 20 years.”