EgyptAir Cargo receives first converted A330 freighter

EgyptAir has taken delivery of its first converted Airbus A330-200 freighter, which was modified by Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW) in Germany. The aircraft, SU-GCE (msn 600), was delivered in August, nearly a year late, after conversion began in April 2017. Supplemental Type Certificates were awarded by European and Egyptian authorities a month earlier, following test flights in June. EgyptAir has orders for three A330-200 conversions (plus an optional fourth) and will use them for new intercontinental services and to increase its cargo volumes by a third. Deliveries will conclude by March 2019. EgyptAir also has plans to receive two Boeing 737-800 freighters around 2020, joining its existing fleet of A300Fs. EgyptAir is the launch customer for the A330-200P2F conversion, but EFW has previously converted the larger A330-300. The passenger-to-freighter conversion is managed by ST Engineering Aerospace, Airbus and EFW. Guy Martin

ARJ21 hot weather testing

The China Commercial Aircraft Corporation ARJ21 regional airliner completed its hot weather testing in a 12-day flight programme at Turhan Jiao He airport in China’s Xinjiang province, it was reported in August. The third ARJ21 carried out the test programme. Current ARJ21 testing is concentrating on changes in the design that will be incorporated before it enters full-rate production, including weight reduction and improvements to onboard systems. Crosswind landing tests of the flight control system were completed at Iceland’s Keflavik International Airport in March 2018. The ARJ21 was flight certified in 2015, entered airline service in 2016 and logged its 100,000th passenger on June 29 this year. Currently, five initial production aircraft and three test aircraft are flying. Some 137 firm orders and 391 letters of intent for ARJ21s from almost 20 Chinese operators remain in the delivery queue. David C Isby

Indian turboprop

India’s state-owned National Aerospace Laboratories Saras 19-seat twin-turboprop airliner design will be ready for airline service in three years, Minister for Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan announced in Bengalaru (Bangalore) during August. The Saras has been in development for over two decades, having started out as a joint design with Russia’s Myasishchev Design Bureau. Its flight test programme resumed earlier this year. Flight-testing originally started in 2004, but was halted in 2009 following a fatal crash of a prototype. The programme has received RUP 1000 million in government funding to resume testing. David C Isby

Ethiopian defers A220 decision

Ethiopian Airlines has deferred its decision to acquire 20 Airbus A220s. The airline said it had extensively studied the aircraft and found it ideally suited to its requirements, especially in the 100-seat category, but will not order the type until it has observed Airbus’ management of the programme. Ethiopian may instead use the Boeing 737 MAX 8 for regional routes; the A220 and Embraer 195 to meet its regional requirements. Guy Martin