Aeronautical Engineers Inc. (AEI) has designated Taikoo (Xiamen) Aircraft Engineering Company (HAECO Xiamen) as a conversion center for its 737-800SF program, taking the number of conversion facilities it has to five.
According to AEI, HAECO Xiamen will initially have one conversion line and begin touch labor on its first 737-800 in January 2021, but a second line will begin in April.
AEI told Cargo Facts it expects to start the conversions of six 737-800s at HAECO Xiamen next year, with an anticipated rate of at least seven aircraft per year after that.
AEI, which recently announced a new 737-800SF order from GA Telesis, also said that, while the extra site was brought on to handle an increase in demand for 737-800 conversions, demand for its other freighter conversions has also grown.
To that end, AEI told Cargo Facts it expects to have up to fourteen conversion lines by next year, spread across five facilities: the Commercial Jet facility in Dothan (DHN), which has three lines converting CRJs, MD-80s, 737-300s, and 737-400s; the Commercial Jet facility in Miami (MIA), which has three lines converting mostly 737-400s and 737-800s; the KF Aerospace facility in Kelowna (YLW), which recently added a second line for 737-400s but will start converting 737-800s early next year; and two lines each at the Taikoo (Shandong) Aircraft Engineering Company (STAECO) facility in Jinan (TNA) and at HAECO Xiamen.
Up to nine of those lines will be capable of working on 737-800s.
Meanwhile, AEI expects to soon redeliver three aircraft: unit 28702 (ex-Blue Air), a 737-400SF for New Zealand-based Airwork; unit 27914 (ex-LOT), a 737-400SF for U.S.-based Vx Capital; and unit 36846 (ex-Jet Airways), a 737-800SF for Nigeria-based Allied Air.