RIGA, LATVIA — Latvia's SmartLynx Airlines, a charter carrier and lessor, has its sights set on becoming the premier operator of converted A321-200 freighters in Europe by year-end. 

At present, the airline operates six A321Fs, but the company's growth plans include expanding its fleet to 13 by the end of this year, and further increasing by four units by the close of 2024.

Dmitrijs Voroncovs, cargo operations manager for SmartLynx Airlines, emphasized the groundbreaking aspect of the aircraft, stating, "This is the pioneering narrowbody freighter to feature both main and lower cargo decks with containerization, enabling automated loading and unloading for extraordinary turnaround times."

The airline maintains that this model, with its cargo capacity of 27 tons and a range of 2,300 nautical miles, is the ideal fit for the express market. SmartLynx Airlines CEO, Zygimantas Surintas, shared his confidence in the model's promising potential, stating, "As we unveil the A321-200 freighter to the world, we are certain that it is well-positioned to lead future cargo operations. The model's impressive fuel efficiency makes it the most eco-friendly option currently available in the cargo market. With direct operational costs for the A321F being up to 30% lower than those for the conventional B757-200 and 737, we are offering the most economical option to our customers."

In a recent development, the airline augmented its fleet with a freshly converted A321 freighter, registered as YL-LDP and refurbished by Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW). This aircraft, the first of its kind in the country, was added to the Latvian AOC.