U.S.-based Aero Capital Solutions (ACS) is bullish on narrowbody freighters and has committed to at least three 737-800SF conversions with Aeronautical Engineers Inc. (AEI).
ACS confirmed to Cargo Facts that it had ferried all three aircraft (28231, ex-Smartwings; 28655, ex-Eastar Jet; and 29925, ex-Go2Sky) to the Taikoo (Shandong) Aircraft Engineering Company Ltd. (STAECO) facility in Jinan (TNA) in August, ahead of induction for conversion into freighter configuration by AEI [FATs 005564; 005583; 005584]. The lessor also told Cargo Facts that a customer is secured for unit 28231, but declined to say whether the other two 737s are also destined for the same customer, or how many more conversions it is planning.
ACS, which isn’t new to freighter aircraft, is another player to foray into 737NG conversions in 2020. While the company said it hadn’t decided to proceed with converting “a number of” 737-800s to freighters until recently, the move had been part of its business development plans “for some time.” According to ACS, the timing of the inductions is “largely coincidental” and not influenced by the pandemic, even if additional MRO capacity has enabled a slightly accelerated timeline.
Cargo Facts wouldn’t be surprised to see ACS converting more aircraft; the company said that of the 100 or so mid-life narrowbodies in its portfolio, at least 20% could be suitable conversion candidates in the long term.
With EFW soon redelivering its first A321 conversion to Vallair and 321 Precision Conversions working toward the certification of its A321 program, ACS is also following the first Airbus narrowbody freighter, saying that current feedstock values make conversion “more compelling today than ever.”
So far this year, lessors new to NG conversions have placed orders for around ten 737-800Fs: apart from ACS’ current three aircraft, in May, BlackRock ordered up to three AEI-converted 737-800SFs, while in July, Aircraft Finance Germany firm-ordered two 737-800BCFs with Boeing and GA Telesis signed a deal with AEI for up to two 737-800SFs.
The table below shows all the 737NG conversion orders that have been placed in 2020, as far as Cargo Facts is aware, as of Aug. 28.
|Aero Capital Solutions||Lessor||At least 3||-|
|Allied Air||Airline||2 firm + 2 options||March|
|Aircraft Finance Germany||Lessor||2||July|
|BlackRock||Lessor||Up to 3||May|
|GA Telesis||Lessor||1 firm + 1 option||July|
|GECAS||Lessor||11 firm + 9 options||August|
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