Oct 13, 2016: GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), the aviation leasing and financing arm of GE announced the placement of its first 737-800NG passenger-to-freighter converted aircraft with Ireland-based ASL Aviation Group. Under the agreement, the lease of two 737-800NG freighters will be covered. The aircraft will be converted into freighter configuration by Miami-based Aeronautical Engineers, Inc. (AEI). GECAS announced the launch of its passenger-to-freighter conversion programme at the Paris Air Show in June 2015. Both aircraft are currently operated by China Southern and will enter the conversion program next year and will redeliver as freighters during 2018. The aircraft will be equipped with a rigid cargo barrier and have 12 main deck pallet positions. The aircraft have a maximum structural payload of 23,500 kg (51,800lb) and a maximum range of over 2,100 nautical miles. “We are delighted ASL has chosen the 737-800NG freighter for its future air cargo operations” said Richard Greener, SVP and Manager Cargo of GECAS. “The transition into younger more efficient aircraft has started to happen and the 737-800NG freighter is well positioned for both replacement and growth in the narrow body freighter sector.” “As one of the largest 737 series freighter aircraft providers we are very excited that there is now a “New Generation” narrow body freighter available, which will allow us to continue servicing our existing, and hopefully many new, customers long into the future. In our opinion the 737-800 is going to be a great freighter, building further on the extensive foundations that have been laid by the numerous 737-200, -300 and -400 freighters that are already in service” said Dave Andrew, CEO ASL Airlines (Africa & Asia) and Leasing. Formed in 2000, GECAS’ Cargo Aircraft Group currently leases over 70 freighters to airline customers worldwide. Its fleet includes the 737, 767, 747 and 777 freighter models. GECAS plans to convert up to 20 of its 737-800NG passenger aircraft to freighters with AEI. The conversions will be performed at authorized AEI Conversion Centers at facilities in the US and Asia.