Bahrain-based Texel Air has placed an order with Boeing for one 737-800BCF conversion [FAT 005974]. The carrier expects to take redelivery of the freighter by the end of the year.
Texel, which took PEMCO’s first 737-700 FlexCombi (30293, an ex-Yakutia) last summer and is also the first airline customer in the Middle East to order a 737-800BCF conversion with Boeing, told Cargo Facts that the larger -800 is “better suited to growing express and e-commerce markets.” Although the carrier operates for DHL Express in the region, the -800 is not being added solely for the express integrator.
With the -800BCF, Texel expects to grow its fleet to four aircraft by the end of 2021; the carrier currently operates two 737-300Fs and a 737-700 FlexCombi, but will return one of the -300Fs (28200) off lease when a second FlexCombi joins this summer. That aircraft (34170, ex-Transavia) was inducted for conversion at PEMCO’s facility in Tampa (TPA) in November 2020.
Texel Air CEO George Chisholm said that, while moving to an all-NG fleet “makes a lot of sense,” the carrier will keep the remaining -300 (27459) — at least in the short term — since it owns the aircraft and can still make good use of it.
Texel told Cargo Facts that it has already identified a few candidate 737-800 frames and hopes to acquire an aircraft soon, ahead of its conversion slot around the end of the third quarter. “We have a few offers on the table, but will be confirming in the next two weeks,” said Chisholm.
For the cargo loading system on its -800BCF, Texel selected a configuration capable of transporting various pallet types, including military pallets. Supplier Ancra told Cargo Facts that this more flexible configuration has been more popular with lessors and accounts for a significantly larger share of the in-service fleet.
Unit 30293, meanwhile, is currently still in a seven-pallet, twelve-seat layout that has allowed Texel Air to carry extra sets of crews on longer flights, Chisholm said.
Cargo Facts Asia, taking place April 20-21 as a virtual experience, is the event for exploring opportunity in the Asia-Pacific region. The event continues to bring together the best, brightest, and most innovative executives in the global air cargo industry. Learn more and register at www.cargofactsasia.com.