Yesterday, Boeing announced it had received two firm orders for converted 737-800 freighters. This means the manufacturer now has a total of 134 orders. With such strong demand, Boeing will open two new conversion lines in Asia to meet its customer’s needs. One line will open in Singapore, and another will open in Guangzhou, China.
Boeing may have had a challenging year when it comes to passenger planes, but its freight offerings are going from strength to strength. The American manufacturer has received an additional firm order for two converted 737-800 freighters from an undisclosed customer.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.
Boeing’s freighter conversion program gives aircraft a second lease of life by turning passenger jets into cargo aircraft. Boeing can turn planes around in as few as 90 days if necessary. Second-hand, converted aircraft are a financially economical way for airlines to add to their fleets. Boeings 737-800 converted freighters are based on the next-generation 737s and come with new technology and lower fuel consumption.
In a statement, Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing for Boeing said,
“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. 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.”
New freighter conversion lines
These additional two orders bring the confirmed order total to 134 converted freighters. To meet growing demands, Boeing will be opening two new converter lines. The first of which, based at Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Company Limited (GAMECO) in China, will open early next year. The General Manager of GAMECO commented,
“The addition of the new production line demonstrates our ability to quickly respond to market trends and requirements and is a testament to the skill and professionalism of the entire GAMECO-Boeing team.”
A second conversion line will open later this year at ST Engineering’s facility in Singapore. The new line will convert the widebody 767-300 freighters. Boeing claims that the 767 is the cost-efficient freighter in its class, flying 56.5 tonnes (124,600 pounds) up to 3,350 nautical miles (6,190 kilometers).
Growing demand for freighters
According to Boeing’s website, the manufacturer expects air cargo traffic to grow by 4.2% a year over the next 20 years. It also believes freighter fleets will increase by 75% to meet demand. With many people preferring to shop online rather than in stores, cargo and freight are seeing an unprecedented boom. Additionally, the sudden need to carry medical supplies around the world has supported an increase in freight and cargo while passengers’ operations remain limited.
Since Boeing’s converted 737-800s are generally used on short-haul and domestic freight operations, they are likely to remain popular options for freight fleets across America and the Asia-Pacific region. Boeing currently provides 90% of the world’s freighter capacity, so the new lines should help Boeing stay on top of the game as demand increases.
What do you think about Boeing’s new orders? Will we continue to see an upswing in demand for converted aircraft? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.