Boeing on April 19 announced the delivery of the first 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter (BCF). The first customer is GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) and the freighter will be operated by West Atlantic Group, based in Sweden.
West Atlantic will receive four 737-800 aircraft within the next 11 months and, once delivered, the company will operate 23 Boeing 737 freighter aircraft.
Boeing’s Current Market Outlook forecasts that over the next 20 years, customers will need more than 1,100 standard-body converted freighters.
Through its freighter conversion program, Boeing transitions passenger airplanes into freighters, extending the service life of the airplane. The 737-800BCF carries more payload – up to 23.9 tonnes (52,800 lbs) – and has longer range – 2,000 nautical miles (3,750 km) than other standard-body freighters – providing capability to open new markets. The 737-800BCF freighter also offers operators newer technology, lower fuel consumption and better reliability than other standard-body freighters. It primarily will be used to carry express cargo on domestic / short haul routes.
For the 737-800BCF, Boeing has received 45 orders and commitments, from seven customers including: YTO Airlines, based in Hangzhou, China; China Postal Airlines, based in Beijing, China; GECAS, based in Ireland; Air Algerie, based in Algiers, Algeria; LAS Cargo, based in Bogota, Colombia; Cargo Air, based in Sophia, Bulgaria ; and an unannounced customer.
Twelve pallet positions provide 4,993 cubic feet (141.4 cubic meters) of cargo space on the main deck of the 737-800BCF. This will be supplemented by two lower-lobe compartments, combined providing more than 1,540 cubic feet (43.7 cubic meters) of space for revenue-generating cargo.
Existing passenger airplanes will be modified at select facilities located near conversion demand, including Boeing Shanghai Aviation Services Co. Ltd., and Taikoo (Shandong) Aircraft Engineering Co. Ltd., also known as STAECO, in China. Modifications include installing a large main-deck cargo door, a cargo-handling system and accommodations for up to four non-flying crew members or passengers.