Several weeks ago, we reported that Bedek Aviation Group, the MRO and conversion arm of Israel Aerospace Industries, had launched a passenger-to-freighter conversion program for the Boeing 737-700. Bedek has now confirmed the -700 program, and also announced the formal launch of a similar P-to-F program for the 737-800.
Bedek declined to comment when asked about orders for either program, but Cargo Facts believes the company has a firm order for three 737-700BDSF conversions, plus one option, from US-based Alaska Airlines. Alaska currently operates one 737-400F and five 737-400 combis, and will presumably use the 737-700BDSFs to replace some of the combis. We have not heard any news or rumors regarding a launch order for the -800BDSF program, but given the popularity of the 737-400 P-to-F programs currently available, it would be odd if Bedek did not offer the 737-800 as a replacement.
Preliminary specifications for the Bedek 737 NG conversion programs are shown in the chart at right. While both the -700BDSF and -800BDSF will offer a variety of main-deck loading configurations, the basic configurations are:
- 737-700BDSF: Eight ULDs 88 x 125 x 82”, plus two smaller ULDs
- 737-800BDSF: Eleven ULDs 88 x 125 x 82”, plus one smaller ULD
With Bedek now committed to conversion programs for both the 737-700 and -800, the future shape of the narrowbody freighter market has begun to solidify, with EFW and Precision the only major players still to commit.
- Aeronautical Engineers, Inc: 737-800 P-to-F and P-to-Combi. (Formally launched)
- Bedek Aviation Group: 737-700 P-to-F, 737-800 P-to-F. (Formally launched)
- Boeing: 737-800 P-to-F. (The Boeing Board has granted approval to offer)
- PACAVI: A320 P-to-F, A321 P-to-F. (Formally launched)
- PEMCO World Air Services: 737-700 P-to-F, P-to-Combi, P-to-QC, 737-800 P-to-F, P-to-Combi, P-to-QC. (PEMCO has not formally launched these programs, but says they are “in development” and will be brought to market “soon.”)
Cargo Facts believes that EFW, now a joint venture of Airbus and ST Aerospace, is close to announcing the launch of an A320 and/or A321 P-to-F program. Whether Precision Aircraft Solutions, which currently offers a 757-200 P-to-F program will enter either the 737 NG or A320/321 market is unknown.
To learn more about freighter fleet dynamics, click here.