Boeing has unveiled plans to open three new conversion lines for the 737-800BCF across North America and Europe.
The manufacturer has received a firm order from Icelease for eleven of the freighters as the launch customer for one of the new conversion lines, at Boeing’s London Gatwick MRO facility. The line will open in 2022.
The other two conversion lines will open in 2023 at KF Aerospace MRO in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.
“Building a diverse and global network of conversion facilities is critical to supporting our customers’ growth and meeting regional demand,” said Boeing Converted Freighters’ director Jens Steinhagen. “KF Aerospace and our Boeing teammates at London Gatwick have the infrastructure, capabilities and expertise required to deliver market-leading Boeing Converted Freighters to our customers.”
KF Aerospace’s chief operating officer Gregg Evjen commented: “We’re very excited to be expanding our relationship with Boeing. We’ve been working with the Boeing product line for more than 30 years. With our cargo conversion experience, our highly skilled workforce and all the technical requirements already in place, we’re ready to get to work and help serve Boeing’s customers.”
Icelease’s order represents its first converted freighter order with Boeing. The lessor recently expanded its cooperation with Corrum Capital through a joint venture called Carolus Cargo Leasing. Senior partner Magnus Stephensen commented: “We are confident in the quality and proven record of Boeing’s 737-800 converted freighter, and pleased to be the launch customer for their new London MRO facility. We look forward to bringing the freighter in to our fleet to serve our growing global customer base operating domestic and short-haul routes.”
Boeing announced earlier this year that it would create additional 737-800BCF conversion capacity at several sites, including a third conversion line at Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Company (GAMECO), and two conversion lines in 2022 with a new supplier, Cooperativa Autogestionaria de Servicios Aeroindustriales (COOPESA) in Costa Rica.
Boeing forecasts 1,720 freighter conversions will be needed over the next 20 years to meet demand. Of those, 1,200 will be standard body conversions, with nearly 20 per cent of that demand coming from European carriers, and 30 per cent coming from North America and Latin America.