Miami-based Aeronautical Engineers Inc, which last week received Russian/CIS certification for its 737-300 and 737-400 passenger-to-freighter conversions, confirmed that it close to signing two large contracts in the region.
The first, which is expected to be signed within the next few days, is for six 737-400 P-to-F conversions for an end user that will use the freighters to replace its existing An-12 fleet, with the feedstock aircraft coming from a leasing company. Assuming the contract is signed as expected, all six conversions would be done in 2011, some at Commercial Jet in Miami, some at Boeing Shanghai Aviation Services, in China.
The second contract is for five 737-400 P-to-F conversions with the feedstock coming from the carrier’s own fleet. This second agreement is still under negotiation, but AEI expects it to be finalized soon.
No announcement regarding the identity of either customer has been made, but the list of candidates is relatively short. Current An-12 operators of any signficance include Atran, Avial, and Moskovia, all of which are based in Moscow. And the only operators with five or more 737-400s currently in pax configuration in Russia of which we are aware are Moscow-based Transaero and Khanty-Mansiysk-based UTair. (Although we note that Novosibirsk-based Globus has four.)