Boeing is creating additional conversion capacity for the 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter.

    The manufacturer has partnered with Costa Rica-based MRO Cooperativa Autogestionaria de Servicios Aeroindustriales (COOPESA) to open two 737-800BCF conversion lines in Alajuela.

    The first of the new conversion lines is expected to open in early 2022, with the second anticipated later that year.

    Boeing said the move came as “express and e-commerce markets continue to drive strong demand for production and converted freighters”.

    The company forecasts that 1,500 freighter conversions will be needed over the next 20 years to meet growing demand. Of those, 1,080 will be standard-body conversions, with nearly 30 per cent of that demand coming from North America and Latin America.

    “COOPESA has demonstrated the technical expertise and commitment to quality and execution necessary to help us meet the growing customer demand for the 737-800BCF, including in the Americas,” said Boeing’s director of freighter conversions Jens Steinhagen. “Boeing is pleased to have COOPESA join our team of MRO partners as we deliver our market-leading converted freighters to customers around the world.”

    COOPESA’s CEO Kenneth Waugh commented: “We are honoured that Boeing has chosen COOPESA as a strategic partner to provide conversion services for the 737-800BCF. We look forward to helping Boeing meet market demand with the technical quality and skilled workforce that has characterised COOPESA in its 58 years of operation.”

    Boeing currently converts 737-800 passenger aircraft to freighters at three locations: Boeing Shanghai Aviation Services (BSAS) in Shanghai, China; Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Company (GAMECO) in Guangzhou, China; and Taikoo (Shandong) Aircraft Engineering Co (STAECO) in Jinan, China.