Uzbekistan Airways looks set to have two 767-300ERs converted to freighter configuration.
According to a report in Air Transport World, Tashkent-based Uzbekistan Airways is already in the process of converting two of its nine 767-300ER aircraft to freighter configuration. ATW quotes the carrier’s European Regional Manager Timur Kerimov as saying that the first of the two is already in conversion in Singapore. Cargo Facts has not been able to confirm that any of the Uzbekistan 767s has actually been ferried to Singapore, but assuming that Mr. Kerimov was correctly quoted and that the conversion will be done in Singapore, then it seems safe to assume it will be a Boeing conversion, with the touch labor performed by ST Aero.
This news comes on the heels of the lease by US-based Air Transport Services Group of two 767-300BDSFs to Amerijet International, and two 767-200Fs to Canada-based Cargojet, as we have reported in recent days. Cargo Facts also believes that Guggenheim Aviation Partners has placed, or is about to place, its two recently converted 767-300BCFs.
In addition, we point out that operators of 767-200Fs have to be looking at upgrading to more modern equipment, as the aging 767-200F fleet is becoming increasingly expensive to operate and maintain. Further, it is our expectation that rising express volumes in China, combined with that country’s massively congested airports, will soon drive express operators there to switch from their current all-narrowbody approach and begin ordering medium widebodies, particularly freighter-converted A330-300s, but perhaps also 767-300ERs.
All of which suggests that after several years of almost no orders, we may be on the verge of a resurgence in demand for medium widebody freighter conversions.
Uzbekistan Airways currently operates two A300‑600Fs (717 and 722, both ex-Korean Air), which Mr. Kerimov says will be retired when the 767 freighters enter the fleet [FATs 001599 – 1603].