Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Boeing officially launches 737 BCF freighter conversion program

Boeing today officially launched the Next-Generation 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter (BCF) with orders and commitments for up to 55 conversions from seven customers.

Boeing Copyright

The freighter conversion program will transitions passenger airplanes into freighters, extending the economic life of the airplane. The 737-800 is the first Next-Generation 737 that Boeing has offered for conversion.

While large freighters carry high-density cargo on long-range routes, the 737-800BCF will primarily be used to carry express cargo on domestic routes.

"The Next-Generation 737 provides exceptional value to express freight carriers through its superior payload, range, reliability and efficiency," said Stan Deal, senior vice president, Commercial Aviation Services, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

"While the recovery of the global cargo market has been slow, we see demand for freighters, such as the 737-800BCF, that will carry express cargo on domestic routes," Deal said. "Over the next 20 years, Boeing forecasts 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 737-800BCF carries up to 52,800 pounds (23.9 metric tons) of cargo, flying routes of nearly 2,000 nautical miles (3,690 kilometers).

Twelve pallet positions – 11 standard pallets and one half-pallet – provide 5,000 cubic feet (141.5 cubic meters) of cargo space on the main deck. This will be supplemented by two lower-lobe compartments, combined providing more than 1,540 cubic feet (43.7 cubic meters) of space for revenue-generating cargo.


Existing passenger airplanes will be modified at select facilities located near conversion demand, including Boeing Shanghai. Modifications include installing a large main-deck cargo door, a cargo-handling system and accommodations for up to four non-flying crew members or passengers.

Boeing has won a total of 30 firm orders and 25 commitments for the 737-800BCF:
  • YTO Airlines, based in Hangzhou, China, has ordered 10 conversions with commitments for 10 additional conversions
  • China Postal Airlines, based in Beijing, has ordered 10 conversions
  • GE Capital Aviation (GECAS), which will provide the initial airplane for conversion, has ordered five conversions 
  • An unannounced customer has ordered five conversions with two commitments
In addition, Boeing has secured 13 commitments for conversions from, SF Airlines based in Shenzhen, China
Cargo Air, based in Sofia, Bulgaria and an unannounced customer.

The first 737-800BCF is expected to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2017.