Icelease Signs For 737 Converted Freighters As Boeing Further Expands BCF Lines

Credit: Boeing

DUBAI—Reykjavik, Iceland-based lessor Icelease has ordered 11 Boeing 737-800BCF converted freighters, a deal that also makes it the launch customer for a new freighter conversion line that Boeing is establishing at its London Gatwick MRO facility.

The Icelease deal was signed Nov. 14 at the Dubai Airshow. Icelease COO Magnus Stephensen said he expected the first aircraft delivery to happen in April 2022.

“I think the global pandemic has changed the cargo environment forever. E-commerce has entirely changed the outlook,” he said.

He acknowledged that Icelease, which was formed as a spinoff from Icelandair in 2005, was potentially interested in also looking at larger aircraft conversions, but said the 737-800 was the company’s focus for now.

“We spent a considerable amount of time considering various options in the market and are convinced this fits our needs,” Stephensen said.

Boeing now has more than 200 orders and commitments for the -800BCF and the company also announced Sunday  Nov. 14 the opening of three additional freighter conversion lines: one in Gatwick and two at KF Aerospace in Kelowna, British Columbia in Canada. These follow announcements earlier this year of additional -800BCF lines in Guangzhou, China, and in Costa Rica.

Boeing forecasts 1,720 freighter conversions will be needed over the next 20 years to meet demand. Of those, 1,200 will be standard-body conversions, with nearly 20% of that demand coming from European carriers, and 30% coming from North America and Latin America, the company says.

Boeing Global Services president and CEO Ted Colbert said at the Icelease signing that it was important to place freighter conversion lines strategically so that facilities are in the markets where demand for narrowbody freighters is surging.

Karen Walker

Karen Walker is Air Transport World Editor-in-Chief and Aviation Week Network Group Air Transport Editor-in-Chief. She joined ATW in 2011 and oversees the editorial content and direction of ATW, Routes and Aviation Week Group air transport content.