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The country’s largest domestic airline, IndiGo, which is operated by InterGlobe Aviation Ltd, on Wednesday said it is sourcing four Airbus A321ceo aircraft, each of which will be converted from passenger jets to a full freighter configuration.

“A letter of intent has been signed with a lessor for two aircraft already and IndiGo expects to reach agreement for the next two shortly. The initiative will make best use of the natural synergies that IndiGo offers, using the same pool of pilots and engineers that fly and service its current fleet," IndiGo said.

“The A321P2F (passenger-to-freighter conversion) is the most efficient narrow-bodied freighter available, offering 24 container positions and supporting a payload of up to 27 tonnes. These are being converted through a programme involving ST Engineering and Airbus with their joint venture, Elbe FlugzeugWerke (EFW)," it said.

IndiGo is expected to take the delivery of its first freighter in the first half of 2022, which will be used for both domestic and regional missions. The remaining three aircraft in the initial commitment are expected to arrive within a year or so from the arrival of the first freighter and further aircraft may be sourced depending on market development.

“Our investment in the Airbus Freighter Programme will help strengthen our product and services in the segment and not only help accelerate our own business recovery but also be a strong engine of economic growth for the country," said Ronojoy Dutta, chief executive officer and whole-time director, IndiGo.

“CarGo has been a success story over the last year, scaling new heights and creating new records, but our belief in the cargo business goes beyond the special circumstances right now. IndiGo was already the largest carrier of cargo in India before covid-19 and we expect the market to continue to grow after the pandemic," Dutta said.

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