Boeing Expands Passenger-To-Freighter Conversion Lines In Asia
SINGAPORE—Boeing is opening additional passenger-to-freighter conversion lines at Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Company Limited (GAMECO) in China for the 737 narrowbody and at Singapore Technologies Engineering for the 767 widebody.
The announcement comes as Boeing revealed an order for two 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighters (BCF) from an unidentified customer. With the new placement, Boeing said it now has 134 orders and commitments for the type.
GAMECO’s second conversion line will begin operation in early 2021. The China Southern Airlines-owned MRO provider carried out its first 737-800 BCF conversion in June, marked by a door-cutting ceremony.
ST Engineering’s second line will open by the end of the year, doubling its conversion capability. The company now has seven 767BCF jobs scheduled through 2021.
According to Boeing orders and deliveries, there is currently a backlog of nine 767BCFs, including four destined for FedEx Express and five for unidentified customers.
The U.S. airframer said the conversion lines had been launched to meet strong demand in express traffic and e-commerce markets. Air cargo has been hit by COVID-19 as passenger aircraft have been grounded meaning much of the belly hold capacity they usually provide has been taken out of the market.
“The freighter conversion program is an excellent way to double the life of an airplane and provide operators with an economical way to replace less efficient freighters,” Boeing senior VP of commercial sales and marketing Ihssane Mounir said in a statement.
“By working with our partners to add freighter conversion capacity, we look forward to meeting the strong demand in this market segment and helping our customers scale their operations,” Mounir said.