Earlier this week, China Postal Airlines took redelivery of its first 737-800BCF (30786, ex-China Southern Airlines), on lease from BBAM [FATs 005087-005088].

The air arm of China Post expects to become the first 737-800BCF operator in China, though we note it was not actually the first Chinese carrier to take redelivery of a -800BCF. That honor went to Tianjin Air Cargo, which earlier this year took redelivery of a Boeing-converted 737-800BCF (32602, ex-Hainan Airlines), but does not appear to have begun operating it.

For China Postal Airlines, this is the first of ten 737-800BCF conversions the carrier is committed to as part of a 2015 agreement with Boeing. In a statement, the carrier said the longer range and greater capacity of the aircraft, compared to its 737-300Fs and -400Fs, will enable it to open new routes from its Nanjing (NKG) hub. Although there was no mention of how soon additional redeliveries may take place, in recent months, the carrier has already begun to retire older freighters in its fleet. One 737-300F on lease from GECAS (25172) has already been placed with a new operator, Mongolian Airways Cargo.

These changes to China Postal Airlines’ fleet come after a period of stability for the carrier’s 737 fleet. All additions since 2015 have been 757-200Fs. The carrier last took delivery of a freighter-converted 737-300F (28158) from PEMCO in 2015 [FAT 001352].

Like the majority of Boeing-converted 737-800BCFs redelivered so far, touch labor for the aircraft was performed at the Taikoo (Shandong) Aircraft Engineering Co., Ltd. (STAECO) facility in Jinan (TNA). Unit 30786 is the eighth 737-800BCF to be completed by STAECO.

In anticipation of growing demand for the 737-800BCF due to booming e-commerce and express deliveries, Boeing recently expanded its conversion capacity in China with another two -800BCF lines. The company now has five 737-800BCF conversion lines in China, spread across the Boeing Shanghai Aviation Services (BSAS) facility at Shanghai Pudong (PVG) and STAECO at TNA, and expects to redeliver seventeen aircraft in 2019, compared to eight last year.

The 737-800BCF received regulatory approval from the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) in December 2018.

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