GECAS (GE Capital Aviation Services) has announced an agreement with S7 Airlines for two 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter (BCF) aircraft. S7 Cargo, general agent for cargo operations sales of the S7 Group, will manage freight services.

    S7’s air freight programme currently utilises belly-hold capacity on passenger planes and these narrowbody freighters will mark the inauguration of dedicated air freighters for the Russian-based operator.

    GECAS, the commercial aircraft financing and leasing business of GE and Boeing’s launch customer for the type, expects the freighters to deliver in November this year and January 2021. The aircraft will fly medium and short-haul routes for S7.

    “The delivery of our first freighters is a significant milestone in S7 Airlines’ cargo operations. The additional capacity will be used on routes with strong demand and limited capacity of baggage compartments on passenger aircraft”, said S7 Cargo CEO Ilya Yaroslavtsev.

    “S7 Airlines’ wide route map, our partnership with leading logistics companies and well-developed agent network enable us to carry payload and mail in a relatively short time and provide efficient aircraft landing. Thanks to the new freighters, we expect to increase total volume of carried payload and mail by 30 per cent”, he added.

    “We are delighted to support S7 Airlines in the launch of its new dedicated cargo programme,” said GECAS Cargo SVP Richard Greener. “The 737-800NG freighter is renowned for its efficiency and reliability, as well as its lower operational costs and better environmental credentials, making it a strong addition to a combination carrier entering the cargo market.”

    While extending the useful life of the passenger 737-800NG, the 737-800BCF carries more payload – up to 23.9 tonnes (52,800 lbs) – and has longer range – 2,000 nmi (3,750 km) – than other standard-body freighters. The 737-800BCF freighter also offers operators newer technology, lower fuel consumption and better reliability than standard-body freighters. It primarily will be used to carry express cargo on domestic and short-haul routes.

    The news follows GECAS’ recent agreement with Boeing to convert 11 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter options to firm orders and add nine additional options to the GECAS Cargo order book. This brings GECAS’ total orderbook for the type to 74 (60 firm orders and 14 options) since the narrowbody conversion programme was announced in 2016.

    In July, GECAS delivered an A320neo aircraft to Colorful Guizhou Airlines in Tianjin, China, making it the second LEAP1A- powered A320neo aircraft to be delivered to the carrier by the lessor.