Competition intensifies in the 737NG conversion market, as a fourth company is cleared to convert aircraft of this type.
On July 10, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued PEMCO a supplemental type certificate (STC) for its multi-configuration 737-700 FlexCombi. PEMCO is now working with the Civil Aviation Administration of China and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency for certification in China and Europe.
The conformity aircraft (30293, an ex-Yakutia) was subsequently redelivered to the program’s launch operator, Bahrain-based Chisholm Enterprises [FATs 005502-005503]. After routine maintenance and technical upgrades at PEMCO’s Tampa (TPA) facility, the aircraft will enter service with Chisholm affiliate Texel Air.
Chisholm has a second 737-700FC on order with PEMCO and an option for PEMCO’s full-freighter variant of the 737-700, which adds a ninth pallet position. The FlexCombi accommodates between six and eight pallets, and up to twenty-four passengers, depending on the configuration.
PEMCO declined to comment on the timeline for its eight pallet 737-700F. The company previously told Cargo Facts toward the end of 2019 that it had completed the flight-testing program of the 737-700FC with the FAA, and was expecting the STC to be granted in the first quarter of this year, after which induction of the first full freighter would occur.
The 737-700FC has now been delayed by around a year and a half. PEMCO made the final skin cuts to unit 30293 in October 2017, and had expected the FAA to sign off on the program between late 2018 and early 2019. Since then, the FAA has been hindered by a U.S. federal government shutdown, the grounding of the 737 MAX and its subsequent recertification, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 737-700 is now available in PEMCO’s -700FC form or Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) -700BDSF form, while the 737-800 comes in three versions: Aeronautical Engineers Inc.’s (AEI) -800SF, Boeing’s -800BCF, and IAI’s -800BDSF.