SF Airlines takes eighth freighter in 2019

SF Airlines has taken redelivery of its thirty-first 757-200F. (Photo: SF Airlines)

SF Airlines has taken redelivery of a 757-200PCF (29944, ex-TUI Airways) from Precision Aircraft Solutions [FAT 005255]. The Shenzhen (SZX)-based carrier has now added eight freighters to its fleet this year, far surpassing any other Chinese airline.

Unit 29944 began its life in 1999, flying in passenger configuration until 2019. It was then inducted for conversion at the AMECO facility in Chengdu (CTU) in September. Its redelivery expands the SF fleet to thirty-one 757Fs and a total of fifty-eight freighters.

Here is an overview of the seven other freighters SF has received in 2019.

January: 767-300BCF (35156, ex-Shanghai Airlines)

February: 757-200PCF (27052, ex-American Airlines)

March: 767-300BCF (35155, ex-Shanghai Airlines)

May: 767-300BCF (28979, ex-TUI Airways), 757-200PCF (27244, ex-American Airlines)

August: 747-400F (35174, ex-Jade Cargo)

September: 757-200PCF (29941, ex-TUI Airways)

By way of comparison, Sichuan Airlines added three ex-Qatar Airways A330-200Fs this year, becoming a freighter operator for the first time. The airline took redelivery of unit 1350 in July, 1406 in September and 1386 in November. It began freighter operations shortly after taking the third aircraft and currently has units 1350 and 1406 in service.

China Postal Airlines added two ex-China Southern 737-800BCFs in 2019, unit 30786 in August and unit 30787 in September, both on lease from BBAM.

Tianjin Air Cargo also took a 737-800BCF (32602, ex-Hainan Airlines) in September, on lease from Spectre Air Capital.

Next year will see SF Airlines’ fleet reach sixty aircraft. The airline has two other ex-TUI 757s that are yet to be converted. The first of these (29942) was ferried to CTU in November and will be inducted by Precision by year-end, while the second (29943) is due to be inducted in 2020.

Other Chinese carriers will also see some growth to their freighter fleets in 2020. China Southern, which converted an existing order for two 777-300ERs, is expecting to take the two 777Fs next year. Recently rebranded Zhongyuan Longhao Airlines, which operates five 737-300Fs and one 737-400F, is considering adding two to three aircraft.

Meanwhile, China Cargo Airlines also plans to add more 777Fs, based on an IPO prospectus filed by parent Eastern Air Logistics in July, although the carrier didn’t specify a timeline.

China’s jet freighter fleet will grow by more than 500 aircraft to 723 over the next twenty years, according to a recent forecast by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).

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