Boeing will open a second conversion line for 767-300BCFs at the ST Engineering facility in Singapore (QPG). The planemaker has also logged a firm order from an unidentified customer for two 737-800BCFs.
ST confirmed to Cargo Facts that it expects to launch the additional 767 conversion line in November 2020, upping its output capacity to between eight and ten 767-300BCFs a year. ST was appointed by Boeing in 2007 as the first 767-300BCF conversion center. Taipei-based Evergreen Aviation Technologies (EGAT) was named the second center by Boeing in 2016, but had told Cargo Facts in January that it would not be carrying out any conversions in 2020.
Boeing did not comment on whether the hike in production at ST is to compensate for EGAT, but said the decision to increase conversion capacity was based on growing demand for dedicated freighters, due in part to increasing demand for e-commerce and the impact of COVID. Boeing confirmed it has received orders and commitments for fifty-one 767-300BCFs to date.
There is currently one 767 undergoing conversion at QPG; unit 30847 (ex-Titan Airways), which arrived in July, will eventually be redelivered to SF Airlines.
ST also told Cargo Facts that it expects to begin working on seven more 767s between now and the end of 2021; one of those will be unit 33083 (ex-American Airlines), scheduled to arrive at QPG Sept. 22. This is the first of four 767-300BCFs DHL ordered from Boeing in July.
Boeing had told Cargo Facts in July that it was looking at additional capacity because of “significantly increased demand” for 767 conversions.
Apart from SF, which currently has eight 767-300BCFs but is likely to add more, we note that Amazon has begun acquiring 767-300ERs of its own and has already sent two to Tel Aviv (TLV) to be converted by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). Given Amazon’s tendency to engage at least two suppliers — at least when it comes to its air operations — it wouldn’t be out of the question to see the e-commerce giant ordering 767-300BCF conversions with Boeing.
IAI, which currently operates six conversion lines at its own MRO facility at TLV, and one at the Mexicana MRO facility in Mexico City (MEX), had also recently told Cargo Facts that it was looking to add a second conversion line in Mexico.
Turning to Boeing’s new 737-800BCF order, the total number of orders and commitments for the type is now at 134. Could the unidentified customer be EgyptAir, which had told Cargo Facts at the end of June that it was planning the addition of two 737-800BCFs?
Boeing also confirmed the launch of a second conversion line at the Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Company Ltd. (GAMECO) facility “in early 2021.” This will be Boeing’s seventh 737-800BCF conversion line overall, joining lines at Taikoo (Shandong) Aircraft Engineering Company Ltd. (STAECO) in Jinan (TNA) and Boeing Shanghai Aviation Services (BSAS) in Shanghai (PVG).
Any future conversion line decisions, whether with existing or potentially new partners, will be driven by factors such as the business environment and market demand, said Boeing.
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