The China express market, which is driven by a continuing surge in e-commerce shipments, is forecasted to be among the fastest growing segment of world air cargo markets.
To meet demand for converted passenger-to-freighter (PtF) aircraft, Boeing last week signed an agreement with Jinan-based Taikoo (Shandong) Aircraft Engineering Co., Ltd. (STAECO) naming the
maintenance, repair and overhaul facility a conversion service provider on the Next-Generation 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter (BCF), China Aviation Daily reported.
Three conversion lines
Taikoo (Shandong) Aircraft Engineering joins Boeing Shanghai Aviation Services in providing conversion services for the programme, which Boeing launched in February. Together, the facilities will operate three conversion lines.
The 737-800 is the first Next-Generation 737 that Boeing has offered for conversion. Since the programme's launch, Boeing has secured up to 60 orders and commitments from customers around the globe.
Hangzhou-based YTO Airlines has ordered 10 conversions plus 10 commitments, while China Postal Airlines has also ordered 10 conversions. In addition, Boeing secured 13 commitments from SF Airlines and Bulgarian carrier Cargo Air.
Boeing forecasts that over the next 20 years, customers will need more than 1,000 converted freighters the size of the 737, with China’s domestic air freight carriers accounting for nearly one-third of the total market. The first 737-800BCF is on schedule to deliver in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Longhao gets AOC
In a related development, China Aviation Daily reported that the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) will grant an air operator's certificate to Longhao Airlines, a startup cargo carrier based in Guangzhou, which was founded by Guangdong Longhao Aviation Group. Longhao Air plans to fly domestic and international cargo and mail services (including Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau), using a fleet of three converted B737-300 freighters.
Nol van Fenema