US-based conversion specialist Aeronautical Engineers Inc signed an agreement to license Boeing engineering data to develop its 737-800 passenger-to-freighter conversion.
Last week we reported on a new widebody conversion program, this week we follow up with the latest on the narrowbody conversion market. AEI formally launched its 737-800 P-to-F program in April of this year at the Cargo Facts Asia event in Hong Kong, and is now in late-stage negotiations with three potential launch customers, all of which have significant owned 737-800 fleets. However, until now it was not clear whether the company would develop the program entirely on its own, or whether it would reach some kind of agreement with Boeing.
The announcement of the licensing agreement settles that question, but AEI’s discussion of the agreement contained two particularly interesting items:
- While the 737-800 passenger-to-freighter program had been previously announced, AEI says it will also pursue an STC for a 737-800 passenger-to-combi conversion, and
- The license agreement also includes engineering data for Boeing’s 737-900.
A P-to-Combi program for the 737-800 will likely have to wait until work is completed on the P-to-F conversion, but Cargo Facts expects it will be done within five years. A 737-900 conversion program, on the other hand, is much further in the future. The first 737-900 was not delivered until 2001, and the first -900ER (the better candidate for freighter conversion) did not enter service until 2007, so conversion is still at least seven or eight years away, and perhaps longer.
Below is a schematic of AEI’s proposed 737-800F, and below that further information on the licensing agreement. If you are interested in learning more about the narrowbody freigthter conversion market, be sure to join us at the Cargo Facts Aircraft Symposium in Miami, 22 – 24 October, where Bob Convey, AEI’s VP Marketing and Sales, will take part in Session 5, “The Narrowbody Freighter Boom. For more information, or to register, visit the Symposium website.
Regarding the AEI/Boeing agreement, AEI said:
- Boeing will host AEI’s conversion drawings/data on the MyBoeingFleet.com web portal for one-stop online access for aircraft digital data.
- Operators can utilize the Boeing field service network and Boeing Communication System to submit service requests.
- A “conversion map” will quickly and efficiently determine whether a service request is to be answered by Boeing or AEI.
- Boeing will provide data access to the STC holder in preparing for conversion of aircraft prior to delivery and is available to discuss STC holder questions related to safety related service bulletins that impact the modified aircraft.