On 21 July, Boeing unveiled the first 737-800BCF converted at the Taikoo (Shandong) Aircraft Engineering Company Limited (STAECO), in Jinan. Redelivery to Air Algérie is expected shortly.
For the Algerian carrier, the freighter is one of two conversions it has on order with Boeing, dating back to an MoU placed at the Farnborough Airshow in 2016. Feedstock for both aircraft is sourced from the carrier’s own passenger fleet. The first unit, (30202) was inducted for conversion at STAECO’s MRO facility at Jinan Airport (TNA) in April. Air Algérie has not yet removed a second passenger 737-800 from service, nor has the carrier provided an updated timeline for induction and conversion.
This is the second 737-800BCF to be redelivered (see the first redelivery to West Atlantic Airlines) and the first 737-800BCF from the STAECO conversion center. Boeing’s relationship with STAECO was formalized in a 2016 MoU which designated the MRO as a second conversion center for the 737-800BCF passenger-to-freighter conversion program to complement the initial conversion center at Boeing Shanghai Aviation Services. Jointly, the two facilities will operate three conversion lines. STAECO is already experienced in converting 737 Classics to freighter configuration for PEMCO and was seen as a likely candidate for the BCF conversion line.
Following a recent conversion order from GECAS for twenty 737-800BCF conversions, and options for up to 15 more, Boeing has at least 79 orders and commitments for the -800BCF.
Returning to Air Algérie, the narrowbody freighters will support the carrier’s plans to “to develop long-haul and African network…” and “energize” its cargo activities. Air Algérie Cargo commenced operations as a standalone unit of Air Algerie on 15 November 2016 and up until now, has relied on two 737-700Cs and a single Lockheed Hercules for freighter flights.
Those interested in discussing the latest trends in the narrowbody conversion market are invited to join us at Cargo Facts Symposium 2018, to be held 10-12 October at the Omni San Diego. To check out this year’s exciting agenda, visit https://www.cargofactssymposium.com/agenda