SmartLynx Malta to operate Airbus A321 freighters for DHL

Computer rendering of the SmartLynx-DHL hybrid livery. Image: © Deutsche Post DHL Group

SmartLynx Malta has signed an agreement with Deutsche Post DHL Group to operate Airbus A321 freighter aircraft for the postal company.

The charter airline will add two converted A321P2F (“Passenger to Freighter”) to its fleet, which will then be operated for DHL Express’ European network under a wet-lease scheme. The deal comes as the company is looking add capacity amid rising demand for express cargo.

SmartLynx Malta is a subsidiary of Latvian charter airline SmartLynx. Unlike its parent, it currently does not fly any aircraft. According to, the two newly converted A321P2F planes that it plans to take delivery of, were previously flying for several different passenger airlines. One was in service with Air Méditerranée until 2016, the other with R Airlines from Thailand until 2018. Both were returned to their lessors due to the respective airlines ceasing operations.

The Maltese-Latvian charter carrier joins a long list of airlines that are currently operating aircraft on behalf of DHL. In Europe alone, this list includes the companies Aerologic, DHL Air UK, European Air Transport, Swiftair and Cargo Air.

More planes for SmartLynx?

In a press release, the companies say that SmartLynx Malta plans to add two additional Airbus A321 converted freighter aircraft to its fleet in 2021, and ‘up to’ four more in 2022. The airline states it has “a business target of becoming one of the largest narrow-body cargo freight carriers within the next three years”. It was not immediately clear what companies the added aircraft would be operated for, or how SmartLynx plans to achieve that goal.