Boeing will set up two 767-300BCF conversion lines at the Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Company Ltd. (GAMECO) facility in Guangzhou (CAN), as demand for medium widebody 767 freighter conversions continues to outpace conversion capacity.
This is the third time Boeing has added conversion lines for the 767-300BCF in the past twelve months, increasing the total number of active conversion lines to five.
Boeing told Cargo Facts that it expects the first GAMECO line to begin in the first quarter of 2022 with the second line following later next year.
A surge in conversion orders and interest from operators, paired with feedstock opportunities augmented by the COVID-19 pandemic, prompted Boeing to begin adding conversion capacity for the program in late 2020. Last year at this time, Boeing had just one conversion line dedicated to the 767-300BCF program, located at ST Engineering’s Paya Lebar (QPG) MRO facility. In November 2020, ST Engineering began converting 767s with a second line at QPG.
ST Engineering added a third conversion line at its Changi (SIN) facility in July with the arrival of unit 35697. That aircraft is currently undergoing conversion for LATAM Cargo.
Boeing does not expect the additional capacity at GAMECO to undercut its activities in Singapore and confirmed the decision was made to accommodate strong market demand. ST Engineering, Boeing said, “Will continue to play a critical role in helping us meet demand today and in the future.”
Earlier this year, prospective and current 767-300BCF customers including CargoLogicAir and DHL Express aired their frustrations about the tight capacity for medium widebody conversions.
Boeing has logged more than ninety-five orders and commitments for the 767-300BCF, according to a Sept. 28 release. As of today, approximately fifty have been redelivered, according to Cargo Facts’ widebody freighter fleet analysis. With much of the remaining backlog attributed to customers like LATAM Cargo, DHL Express, SF Express and Titan Aircraft Investments, the additional capacity was inevitable.
Besides the planned 767-300BCF conversion lines, GAMECO already has two active conversion lines for the 737-800BCF and is planning to add a third line in early 2022, making it the only facility to convert both types for Boeing.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the other STC holder for 767-300 freighter conversions, has also added several conversion lines for its program. In September 2020, it added a second conversion line at the Mexicana MRO facility in Mexico City (MEX) and is now in the process of adding a new conversion site at the Ethiopian Airlines Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul facility in Addis Ababa (ADD). This capacity adds to six lines at IAI’s own facility in Tel Aviv (TLV).
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