Estonia’s Airest to operate first CRJ200SF converted freighter in Europe

Airest currently operates nine Saab 340s The carrier might orderr up to four such aircraft eventually (Airest)

Estonian airline Airest, which performs regional cargo services on behalf of integrators and postal delivery operators, is to become the first carrier in Europe to operate the Bombardier CRJ200 Special Freighter (SF).

The new addition to the Tallinn-based airline’s fleet will be a converted version of the CRJ200 passenger aircraft and, from April 2018, will offer the longest haul of any 6.7-ton capacity cargo aircraft in the world. It has a class E compartment for pallet and/or bulk cargo and the capacity for up to eight containers or pallet positions.

The passenger-to-freighter (p2f) conversion comes with a large 94 x 77-inch (2.39m x 1.95m) cargo door and its acquisition, on behalf of Airest, has been confirmed by US aero engineering and freighter conversions specialist Aeronautical Engineers Inc (AEI).

An AEI announcement has confirmed the signing of a contract to provide Miami-based aircraft lessor Regional One with the reconfigured CRJ200. Regional One will then provide Airest with a finance lease of the completed freighter.

“The CRJ200 commenced modification last week at Commercial Jet’s Miami, Florida facility and will be re-delivered [as a freighter] to Regional One at the start of April 2018,” says the company’s statement.

AEI is a global player in the p2f aircraft conversions business and, since founded in 1958, has developed more than 128 Supplemental Type Certificates (STC). It currently offers p2f conversions for the B737-400, -300 and -200 airliners, as well as for the MD-80 and CRJ200 types. The company plans to complete its first B737-800 full freighter conversion in mid-2018.

Regional One is a supplier of aftermarket aircraft components, as well as being an aircraft and aero engine lessor, with a worldwide customer base. Headquartered in Miami, the company maintains an extensive selection of avionics, rotables, and expendables in stock available on an AOG basis. Regional One also provides consignment services, aircraft and engine sales and leases, and asset management and advisory services, the company’s website reads.

Airest, which plans to acquire and operate up to four of AEI’s converted CRJ200s, is a subcontractor for global integrators, couriers, postal services, and supply chain companies. Headquartered at Tallinn, it has since 2012 focused on supplying reliable ACMI and charter solutions to businesses in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Its current fleet consists of nine Saab 340s.

“We offer our clients priority access to market-changing regional freighters,” reads the carrier’s statement. “Our fleet includes SF340 turboprop aircraft and[to come] CRJ200SF jets, carrying up to 6.7 t at 860 km/h with a range of 4,600 km.”

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