Boeing kicks off test on Next-Gen 737-800 converted freighter

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January 22, 2018: As promised back in February 2016, Boeing recently conducted its first 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter (BCF) testing, thus meeting its timeline. 

"The first Boeing 737-800BCF is going through its testing. The Boeing Converted Freighter program is a great way to extend the life of a passenger airplane, with the backing of world class support from Boeing.  Launched in 2016 with 55 orders and commitments from seven customers, this airplane has 11.5 pallet positions and can carry up to 23.9 metric tonnes, informed Jerry Verghese, VP, global brand marketing of Boeing Commercial Airplanes on his LinkedIn page.

The converted aircraft is expected to be delivered to Swedish cargo operator-West Atlantic in early February. 

According to Boeing, the 737-800 passenger-to-freighter conversion is a better way to fly if you are responding to increased cargo demand adjusting your fleet mix, or replacing older freighters.

Riding high on the burgeoning e-commerce and the express industry, many conversion specialists have had jumped into the business with specialists like GECAS, Bedek Aviation Group and Elbe Flugzeugwerke  (EFW) receiving frequent orders from operators for the narrow body as well as medium widebody aircraft.

As the competition gets tougher by the day, it can be safely said that Boeing is currently dominating the P2F conversion market, with 737-800 newest addition to the conversion programs, apart from the 767-300 and the 747-400.

The OEM claims that the BCFs that it is offering will come with an original equipment manufacturer warranty and access to the same support that Boeing provides for its new-build airplanes. The 737-800BCF will be primarily used to carry express cargo on domestic routes.

The American aircraft manufacturer ventured into the business foreseeing a major market emerging for freighters in next 20 years. Replacement ageing airplanes, in addition to the industry's growth requirements, will create a demand for 2,480 freighter deliveries over next 20 years. Of these, 1,560 will be passenger airplane conversions, said Boeing's Current Market Outlook.  

This demand, according to industry experts, would emerge consequent to improving world economic activity and trade. Especially, express companies that continue to see high growth are likely to require additional lift, giving way to a buzzing market for freighter conversions.

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