FRANKFURT – Today at the first-ever Cargo Facts EMEA conference, held this year at the Westin Grand Frankfurt, Airborne Maintenance and Engineering Services subsidiary PEMCO Conversions announced a launch customer for its full-freighter 737-700 conversion program.
PEMCO originally launched passenger-to-freighter and passenger-to-combi 737-700 programs at the 2017 Cargo Facts Asia event in Shanghai. At the time, PEMCO also announced Bahrain-based Chisholm Enterprises, parent of charter operator, Texel Air, as the launch customer for the flex-combi (FC) variant. Today, Mike Andrews, Director of Cargo Conversions with PEMCO, announced that Chisholm would also be the launch customer for the full-freighter conversion.
In a separate statement today from parent company Air Transport Services Group (ATSG), Chisholm confirmed that Texel Air will operate the freighter out of Bahrain International Airport (BAH).
PEMCO plans to induct the first 737-700 for conversion to full-freighter configuration during the second quarter of this year. The company will also amend its pending STC for its 737-700FC variant to accommodate the full-freighter version and streamline the approval process. Andrews said today that approval is expected by March.
Other conversion houses also provided updates to conversion programs currently in development or awaiting STCs. Aeronautical Engineers Inc.’s STC for its 737-800 freighter-conversion program was delayed by the partial US government shutdown, but Robert Convey, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, with AEI, told delegates here at Cargo Facts EMEA that approval is now expected during the middle of next week.
Passenger-to-freighter conversion programs for the A320-321 family were also a major topic of discussion during the panel. Brian McCarthy, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for 321 Precision Conversions (the joint venture formed between Precision Aircraft Solutions and ATSG), announced that the company had just cut metal this week for its A321-200 P-to-F program and expects certification of the converted freighter in 1Q 2020, before delivering its first converted freighter to launch customer Vallair. Meanwhile, Wolfgang Schmid, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Airbus Freighter Conversion at EFW, said the company expects certification of its A321-200 P-to-F by the end of this year, and of the A320 in 2020.