Market Presence. The A330-200F was developed as a means of stimulating additional sales for Airbus widebodies at a difficult time for the European manufacturer and to act as a replacement for the A300-600F which had ended production. Airbus was also conscious that Boeing had a pre-eminent position in the new freighter market. By using the main deck cargo door already used on the A300-600F the development costs associated with the -200F were contained along some changes to the nose landing gear bay were required. The principal sources of constraint in terms of the limited orderbook were the weak market conditions and the conversion of existing passenger widebodies. The disparity in the total conversion cost of the B767-300ER versus that of a new A330-200F weakened demand for the latter. In the short to medium term, the A330-200F will be at risk from the conversion of A330s and A340s as well as the B777-200ER. Despite previously being cancelled the A330 P2F program has been reintroduced thereby providing a measure of reassurance for A330 passenger residuals while potentially undermining the value of A330 production freighters. The previous A330 conversion program was axed when it became apparent that the Russian partner of Airbus would charge more than envisaged. The revived conversion program features collaboration with STAerospace and EADS EFW. Both the A330-200 and A330-300 are targets for the conversion program although the latter will be the principal focus due to a longer product life cycle. With an estimated conversion cost of approximately $15 million, post conversion values could be nearer $25 million which is significantly less than the cost of the production -200F.
Market Outlook. The combination of weak cargo demand and concern over the conversion of used passenger units has had a negative effect on short term values. Boeing will not have a mid-sized freighter available after production of the B767-300F ceases in the next few years. A freighter version of the B787 is not currently planned and will be difficult to produce given the demand for the passenger version. In the near term, values should remain relatively strong as the market seeks larger and more modern capacity. There is little doubt that the airfreight market has suffered a significant and extended downturn and thus the -200F was impacted. However, as with previous downturns as demand has returned the more modern aircraft will be the more popular due to the lag in terms of converting older aircraft types. The introduction of the A330-900 means that the production of the A330ceo is winding down and with only four -200Fs on backlog, further orders are unlikely.