Boeing Confident Of Converted Freighter Capacity In Buoyant Segment

Credit: Boeing

LONDON—With demand for passenger-to-freighter services expected to be sustained in the mid to long-term, Boeing says it is confident its current number of conversion lines can deal with continued demand.

The airframer announced an additional 737-800 conversion line at London Gatwick Airport in the run up to Farnborough Airshow, its second in the UK following on from the establishment of the first earlier this year. The latest line brings the current number of active 737 conversion lines to 13 worldwide. In addition, it operates five lines for 767 freighter conversions.

Speaking to media in London on July 17 at a pre-Farnborough event, Stephanie Pope, executive vice president and CEO of Boeing Global Services, said the recent establishment of the second Gatwick conversion line at the MRO facility Boeing has operated since 2019 signals its strategy of providing flexibility in search of capacity.

“We continue to look at where around the world might have lines for our customers to meet the demand,” she said. Pope said the OEM is looking at opportunities, depending on the market environment. “We’re looking at multiple other options and lines to give us some diversity … we feel really good about where we’re at to meet demand.”

Robust demand is forecasted in the cargo aircraft segment by Boeing. In its 2022 Commercial Market Outlook published this weekend, the company predicts annual growth of approximately 4.5% in the cargo segment both in new freighters and conversion lines.

The report also suggested carriers will need approximately 2,800 additional freighters over the next 20 years. This includes 940 new widebody models in addition to converted narrowbody and widebody freighters up to the year 2041.

James Pozzi

As Aviation Week's MRO Editor EMEA, James Pozzi covers the latest industry news from the European region and beyond. He also writes in-depth features on the commercial aftermarket for Inside MRO.