This conversion programme to be carried out by Miami-based Aeronautical Engineers (AEI) began when a 1999 vintage 737-800 arrived in Miami on May 5. The aircraft had been operated by Corendon Airlines in Turkey. Conversion and the subsequent certification process are scheduled to take approximately a year.
The aircraft will be equipped with a rigid cargo barrier and have 12 main deck pallet positions for 11 full height containers, plus a one-half width container. The aircraft has a maximum structural payload of 23,500 kilograms and a max range of over 2,100 nautical miles.
GECAS plans to convert up to 20 of its Boeing 737-800NG passenger aircraft to freighters with AEI. The conversions will be performed at authorised AEI Conversion Centres at facilities in the US and Asia.
GECAS is also the launch customer for Boeing’s 738BCF programme, and a similar aircraft will be inducted into their program later this year.
“The 737-800NG freighter will complement the GECAS cargo portfolio and clearly become an important narrow body freighter to support the future express air cargo markets,” said Rich Greener, SVP & manager - Cargo for GECAS.
“This is a terrific milestone for AEI, and we’re thrilled that the first B737-800SF modification is officially underway,” said Roy Sandri, president, AEI.
Aeronautical Engineers, (AEI) is a global leader in the aircraft passenger-to-freighter conversion business and is the oldest conversion company in existence today.