Africa: Kenya-based Astral Aviation to be the first operator of the Embraer E190 cargo version

Astral connectivity

Kenya-based carrier, Kenya-based Astral Aviation, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) to convert the first two Embraer 190s from passenger to freighter to be used by the airline.

According to aviacionline.com, in May this year, NAC and Embraer reached an agreement in principle to take up to 10 conversion slots for E190F/E195Fs, with first deliveries starting in 2024. The lessor plans to use its inventory of 117 Embraer 190/195s for the conversions.

Other work specific to the P2F conversion includes changes to the air management system (refrigeration, pressurization, etc.), removal of the interior and provisions for transporting hazardous materials. The E190F can handle a payload of 23,600 lb (10,700 kg) while the E195F a payload of 27,100 lb (12,300 kg).
Sanjeev Gadhia, founder and CEO of Astral Aviation, said during the Farnborough Airshow 2022: “We are honored to be the launch operator of the Embraer 190F, which will be based at Astral’s hub in Nairobi.”

READ: Aviation: African Airlines expand as Astral Aviation, Ethiopian Airlines increases Airfreight capacity

The company will use it to combine scheduled and charter flights on its intra-African network.

Johann Bordais, president and CEO of Embraer Services & Support, added: «The response to Embraer’s P2F program, which was launched in February this year, has been incredible. NAC has already placed its first two aircraft, and it is fantastic to welcome another operator to our E-Jet family.»

Astral Aviation plans an aggressive expansion over the next few years, which includes adding A321 P2Fs, A330 P2Fs and Boeing 777-300 ERSFs to its current fleet of two Boeing 727-200Fs, two Boeing 747-400Fs, one Boeing 767-200F, one DC 9-30F and two Fokker 50Fs.

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