On 12 April, Boeing announced via Twitter that it had received EASA and FAA Standard Type Certification (STC) for its 737-800BCF freighter conversion program.
Following certification, the 737-800BCF (32740) was ferried from Victorville to East Midlands, where it will be formally handed over to launch customer GECAS, and then immediately leased to launch operator, Sweden-based West Atlantic. The aircraft was previously registered to Wells Fargo Bank Northwest NA Trustee” as N346PH, but has already been assigned a new registration (G-NPTA), according to Skyliners aviation. Although the aircraft made a stopover in the United States, touch labor for the conversion was completed at Boeing’s Shanghai MRO facility.
The redelivery represents a number of milestones for narrowbody freighter conversions. This is the first 737-800 conversion program to receive STC certification, as well as the first redelivery of a 737-800F. This is the second 737 NG conversion program to receive STC certification. Last year, Bedek became the first conversion house to certify and redeliver a freighter-converted 737-700. It has since redelivered three 737-700BDSFs to Seattle-based Alaska Airlines.
For West Atlantic, the aircraft is the first of four 737-800BCFs it agreed to lease from GECAS last June. Last month, the carrier announced that all four aircraft will be operated “on behalf of an express logistics provider, in its current EU-network.” The identity of the end-customer has not yet been revealed but will be known as soon as the aircraft enters into commercial service.
Through its two subsidiary carriers (UK-based Atlantic Airlines and Sweden-based West Atlantic), West Atlantic Airlines currently operates three 767-200Fs, six 737-300Fs, eleven 737-400Fs, fourteen ATPFs, and two CRJ200Fs. The carrier is also expected to take delivery of a twelfth AEI-converted 737-400SF on lease from Vx Capital Partners (25429).
Returning to GECAS, the company plans to have fifty-five 737-800s from its portfolio converted to freighter configuration, with outstanding orders and commitments for twenty conversions with AEI, and thirty-four with Boeing.
For now, here’s a video of the first 737-800BCF taking flight:
Those interested in hearing the latest about narrowbody conversions should join us at Cargo Facts Asia 2018 in Shanghai, April 23-25, where the subject will be explored from many viewpoints. For more information, or to register, go to CargoFactsAsia.com.