As SF Airlines takes redelivery of another 757 PCF, plenty of feedstock remains

SF Express’ fifty-second freighter, a 757-200PCF, joined the fleet this week. Photo: SF Express

Today, SF Airlines took redelivery of the fifty-second freighter aircraft, and the twenty-eighth 757-200F, to join the SF Express-associated airline’s fleet.

The 757-200 was converted by Precision Aircraft Solutions and is the latest freighter to join SF’s rapidly growing fleet, which grew to fifty freighters by the end of last year following the addition of an ex-Jade Cargo 747-400ERF late in October, as well as the fiftieth freighter – another 757-200PCF – which was redelivered in December.

Regarding the future outlook of 757 passenger-to-freighter conversions, Brian McCarthy, Vice President Sales and Marketing, 321 Precision Conversions, told delegates at last week’s Cargo Facts EMEA event in Frankfurt that after redelivering all the units ordered by the program’s largest customer, DHL, Precision still expects to convert fourteen 757s in 2019 – down only a few units from the nineteen aircraft converted in 2018. To-date, Precision has converted 110 of the type, McCarthy said, with remaining feedstock ranging between thirty-five to forty units on the low side, and up to sixty on the high side.

Many of the remaining available units for conversion are still in passenger operations with major airlines such as United Airlines, American Airlines, and Icelandair, which combined operate more than 100 of 757-200s. According to McCarthy, many of those still in passenger operations are among the youngest of the 757-200 fleet, leaving no shortage of feedstock. “If anything slows us down, it’ll be engines,” McCarthy said, acknowledging a shortage of good engine availability for converted freighters that has affected many of the NG conversion programs.

Keeping the abundance of available 757-200 feedstock for conversion in mind, alongside SF Express’ commitment to continue growing its supply chain operations, where might SF Airlines source additional feedstock for its growing 757F fleet? Though not confirmed, Cargo Facts believes the carrier is in the process of acquiring at least four ex-TUI Airways aircraft for conversion to freighter configuration and is in the market for more. If so, UK-based TUI’s fleet includes nine additional 757-200s beyond the four SF may already be acquiring.

Those interested in learning more about future trends in freighter transactions are invited to join us at Cargo Facts Asia 2019, to be held 15-17 at the Langham Shanghai where Cargo Facts Consulting will present the 2019 edition of its annual twenty-year Freighter Forecast. For more information, or to register, visit www.cargofactsasia.com.

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