Indian carrier SpiceJet has taken redelivery of its first freighter-converted 737-800BCF for its cargo arm, SpiceXpress, becoming the first operator to have both the 737-700F and 737-800F platforms in its fleet. The aircraft is a 737-800BCF, on lease from NGF Alpha Limited, a division of Spectre Cargo Solutions [FATs 005141-005142].
SpiceJet said that the 737-800BCF would help it expand its operations in the Middle East, Bangladesh and Hong Kong markets. SpiceXpress already has three 737-700BDSFs and currently flies from Delhi (DEL), Kolkata (CCU) and Guwahati (GAU) to Hong Kong (HKG), as well as a domestic rotation connecting Hyderabad (HYD), DEL, Mumbai (BOM), Bengaluru (BLR) and Chennai (MAA). A BLR-HKG route has also been announced.
Although SpiceJet has so far not responded to requests for comment and an MSN is unknown at this point, Cargo Facts believes the frame was converted by Boeing at Taikoo (Shandong) Aircraft Engineering Co., Ltd. (STAECO) in Jinan (TNA), where the majority of 737-800BCFs have been converted so far.
The airline began freighter operations with the delivery of its first 737-700BDSF in September 2018 [FATs 004645-004646]. It took the second in April 2019 and the third in July. All three were converted by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
Spectre previously told Cargo Facts that it would convert and lease at least six 737 NGs to SpiceJet in order to support the carrier’s plans to expand its freighter fleet to six aircraft by March 31, 2020. With the redelivery of a -800BCF, it is unclear whether SpiceJet will opt for a combination of -800BCFs and -800BDSFs or stick to a single version. However, we note that IAI has yet to obtain a supplemental type certificate for its 737-800BDSF program. The first frame (30498, ex-Transaero Airlines) has already been completed and is destined for Spectre, while the second is nearing completion and is also due to be redelivered to Spectre.
Boeing 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 a total of seventeen 737-800BCFs in 2019, compared to eight last year.
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