As the Express Mail market in China heats up, driven by rapid growth in e-commerce, China Postal Airlines has embarked on a massive fleet expansion to keep up with demand – announcing an order for five 737-300 passenger-to-freighter conversions with PEMCO World Air Services this week. This follows an agreement announced last week under which Air China Cargo will operate four 757-200PCFs for China Postal, following conversion of the aircraft to freighter configuration by Precision Conversions.
PEMCO, which recently redelivered the tenth freighter it has converted for China Postal (a 737-400F), will begin conversion of the first two of the five recently-ordered 737-300 conversions this month at the STAECO facility in Jinan, China, with all five to be converted and redelivered by September 2014. Cargo Facts believes the five aircraft to be converted in the current order are 28156, 28157, 28159, 29315, and 29316, all formerly operated in passenger configuration by Shandong Airlines. When the fifth of these converted 737-300Fs is redelivered, China Postal will be operating a twenty-three-unit fleet, including thirteen 737-300Fs and two 737-300QCs (operated in freighter configuration), and eight 737-400Fs. Of these, fifteen will have been converted by PEMCO.
In addition to the twenty-three 737 freighters, China Postal will, as mentioned above, also be ACMI-leasing the four 757-200PCFs from Air China Cargo. This total of 27 freighters will be a full 50% increase from the eighteen currently in the carrier’s fleet.