China's YTO Express has contracted with U.S.-based conversion specialist Pemco World Air Services for the conversion of three B737-300 passenger aircraft to freighters.
The Hangzhou-based cargo airline, which is already operating five all-cargo B737-300Fs, including one 737-300 Pemco-converted freighter, will take redelivery of the three 737-300 P-to-F aircraft
through the fourth quarter of 2017. In September 2015, the company signed a launch customer agreement with Boeing for the B737-800BCF.
YTO Express currently operates air cargo and express services throughout China from its hubs at Guangzhou, Chengdu, Xi'an Xianyang, Yiwu, and, in the interim, Nanning.
A new Chinese giant emerges
China's e-commerce giant Alibaba and Yunfeng Capital, a fund backed by Alibaba's founder Jack Ma, took a minority stake (reportedly 20%) in YTO Express In May 2015.
Established in 2000, YTO Express operates in China's highly competitive domestic express market with rivals including China Post, SF Express, Yunda Express and STO Express.
In addition to its air express activities, the company manages eight logistics compounds nationwide, operating 72 transfer centres and over 12,500 pick-up points. It has over 180,000 employees servicing more than 2,300 Chinese cities.
Nol van Fenema