Tianjin Air Cargo has introduced its first 737-800BCF. The 17-year-old aircraft (32602, ex-Hainan Airlines) is on lease from Spectre Air Capital, following conversion to freighter configuration by Boeing at the Taikoo (Shandong) Aircraft Engineering Co., Ltd. (STAECO) facility in Jinan (TNA) [FATs 004944-004945].
In addition to the red Tianjin Air Cargo livery, the aircraft features the blue branding of ZTO Express, suggesting some sort of partnership with the Chinese express company. In November 2018, Tianjin Air Cargo also began operating a dedicated freighter for Chinese e-commerce company JD.com.
According to Tianjin Air Cargo, an HNA Group subsidiary, unit 32602 is the first 737-800BCF handed over to a Chinese customer. China Postal took redelivery of its first -800BCF in August 2019 but became the first to begin flying the type. China Postal subsequently received a second aircraft in September. Tianjin Air Cargo does not appear to have any other confirmed orders for 737-800 conversions at this point.
Unit 32602 joins Tianjin Air Cargo’s 737-300F (27362) and two 737-400Fs (29914 and 29915). The carrier most recently launched a 737-400F flight between Nanchang (KHN) and Wenzhou (WNZ) in August.
The 737-800BCF received regulatory approval from the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) in December 2018. In anticipation of growing demand for the type 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.
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