Georgian Airways has added to its fleet a 737-800SF (28231, ex-Smartwings) — its first freighter — as part of a plan to launch a cargo subsidiary, which will operate as Georgian Airways Cargo [FAT 006115].
The 2000-vintage freighter arrived at the carrier’s Tbilisi (TBS) base on April 4, following conversion to freighter configuration by Aeronautical Engineers Inc. (AEI). Touch labor for the conversion was completed at the Taikoo (Shandong) Aircraft Engineering Company (STAECO) facility in Jinan (TNA).
The aircraft was converted for Aero Capital Solutions (ACS) as part of a four-unit conversion order with AEI, and was ferried to Jinan (TNA) in August 2020. At the time of induction, ACS told Cargo Facts that it had already secured a customer for the aircraft. The carrier’s arrangement with ACS is not known, although Georgian Airways’ small passenger fleet appears to be leased, and SMBC Aviation Capital listing the carrier as a customer. ACS declined to confirm the placement with Georgian Airways for now.
Georgian Airways aims to operate the 737-800F to Asia and Europe, and is in discussions for additional freighters, according to Georgian outlet Avianews.ge. The carrier had been looking to expand its cargo business and introduce freighter aircraft, according to local reports earlier this year.
Georgian Airways was founded in 1993 as charter operator Airzena, which became the flag carrier of Georgia in 1999. Since 2004, the private airline has operated under its current name with a fleet of 737s and smaller regional aircraft.
ACS recently topped up its AEI backlog with ten additional 737-800SF conversion orders. The lessor told Cargo Facts its second 737-800SF (28655, ex-Eastar Jet) is progressing in its conversion. That aircraft also went to TNA last August.
Russia-based S7 Airlines also recently stepped into the freighter market for the first time through the 737-800F platform, with a pair of -800BCFs on lease from GECAS.
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