AEI adds conversions as interest in 737 Classics continues

Cargologic Germany’s three 737-400SFs are all on lease from Vx Capital Partners. (Photo: Cargologic Germany)

Aeronautical Engineers Inc. (AEI) and Vx Capital Partners have signed an agreement for the conversion of three 737-400s into freighter configuration.

Following redelivery, Vx will have converted a total of twenty-eight 737 Classics, including twenty-six with AEI. Vx’s overall leasing portfolio will grow to forty-three 737-400Fs.

The aircraft are the only three 737-400s left in the fleet of LOT Polish Airlines; all three are currently in Warsaw (WAW) and don’t appear to have flown in the past week, at least.

All touch labor will be conducted at the KF Aerospace facility in Kelowna (YLW). The first aircraft (27914) will be inducted for conversion in March 2020, while the second (28752) will be inducted in May and the third (28753) in August. The aircraft will be equipped with an Ancra cargo loading system.

AEI selected KF Aerospace as its fourth designated conversion site for 737 Classics in February 2017. Other recent conversions have also been carried out at the Commercial Jet facilities in Dothan (DHN) and Miami (MIA).

Vx, whose portfolio consists of forty 737-400Fs and two 737-300Fs is the largest lessor of 737-400Fs. With the lower on-ramp cost of the 737-400F, compared with the newer 737-800F, as well as limited 737 NG feedstock availability due to the ongoing grounding of the 737 MAX, it’s not surprising that Vx continues to see demand for freighter-converted 737-400s. On the other hand, Vx also mentioned that it would be “turning [its] attention to the 737 Next Gen market” as it completes its 737-400 conversion program.

Even if the ungrounding of the 737 MAX begins from midyear, as Boeing anticipates, the reentry into service of both delivered and undelivered frames will be gradual. We would therefore not be surprised to see additional Classic conversions during 2020.

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