San Francisco-headquartered BBAM is gradually expanding its footprint in the next-generation narrowbody conversion space, and with the recent redeliveries to China Postal Airlines, the lessor has become the first known lessor to have ordered conversions for both the 737 NG and the A321.
China Postal received its first 737-800BCF in August 2019 and the second in September. Both were converted by Boeing at Taikoo (Shandong) Aircraft Engineering Co., Ltd. (STAECO) in Jinan (TNA) and are the first two to be leased by BBAM. While the airline is committed to at least eight more under an agreement it signed with Boeing in 2015, BBAM tells Cargo Facts that it doesn’t have any more -800s due to be converted for China Postal for now.
Separately, BBAM signed a letter of intent with Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW) for one A321 passenger-to-freighter conversion at the Paris Air Show in June 2019. This will also be BBAM’s first A321P2F and will be taken from its own portfolio of passenger A321-200s. EFW expects to induct the frame for conversion in 2020, with redelivery to take place toward the end of the year.
We later reported that the single A321P2F would be leased to U.K.-based Titan Airways, and that the airline is looking to add two more aircraft in the next two years. BBAM also says that, apart from the frame destined for Titan, it has no more commitments for A321 conversions at this point, but adds that it believes both converted A321s and 737 NGs are strong platforms that are attractive to operators for renewal or growth, and is actively undergoing discussions with a range of customers.
BBAM says that, while 737 NG feedstock prices remain relatively high (exacerbated somewhat by the 737 MAX grounding), it is “starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.” Given its portfolio contains fifteen 737-700s, 134 737-800s and forty-eight A321-200s, Cargo Facts wouldn’t be surprised to see BBAM secure at least one or two new deals for narrowbody freighter conversions in the months ahead.