GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) demonstrated its confidence in the 737-800 freighter today by announcing plans to convert 30 more if its passenger Boeing 737-800s into freighters. The order, announced during the Paris Air Show, more than doubles GECAS’ current investment into the freighter type, which includes the 25 aircraft GECAS already has on order from Aeronautical Engineers, Inc. (AEI), and Boeing. The aircraft leasing firm has not yet announced where the conversions will take place.
The Next-Generation 737-800 freighter will be equipped with CFM56-7B engines and will be able to carry up to 23.9 tonnes of cargo.
GECAS launched the 737-800 freighter program with AEI in 2015, and with Boeing in 2016. The aircraft will come from GECAS’ existing portfolio, and head to conversion at the end of their passenger leases, starting in 2018.
GECAS currently owns approximately 220 passenger 737-800s, meaning that, at 55 conversions, it’s putting about 25 percent of the fleet into the freighter market.
The carriers ASL Group and West Atlantic Group have already become GECAS customers for the 737-800 freighter, with deliveries set for 2018 through 2019.
“We believe the 737-800 freighter will become an important express freighter for the 20- to25-tonne air cargo market,” said Richard Greener, senior vice president and manager for cargo at GECAS.