Boeing has delivered the first 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter (BCF to GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) to be operated by Sweden-based West Atlantic Group.
West Atlantic will receive four 737-800BCFs within the next year, bringing the company’s fleet of Boeing 737 freighters up to 23.
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 metric tons) and has longer range (2,000 nm) than other standard-body freighters, providing the 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 and short-haul routes.
Boeing has received 45 orders and commitments, from seven customers for the 737-800BCF 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 unnamed customer.
Twelve pallet positions provide 4,993 cubic feet 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 additional cubic feet of space for revenue-generating cargo.
Existing passenger airplanes will be modified at select facilities located near conversion demand, including Boeing Shanghai Aviation Services and Taikoo (Shandong) Aircraft Engineering 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.