China’s largest 757F operator prepares for more

Shenzhen-based SF Airlines currently operates twenty-three 757-200Fs and has an estimated ten more on the way. Photo: Shimin Gu Wikimedia

On 21 August, ST Aerospace Engineering redelivered a freighter-converted 757-200SF to Shenzhen-based SF Airlines (27806, ex-American Airlines) following conversion at the company’s Seletar MRO facility. The rapidly-growing express carrier has at least four more aircraft in conversion with ST Aerospace Engineering and Precision Aircraft Solutions, and at least six more conversions beyond that.

For the rapidly-growing express integrator, this was the fifth 757-200 brought into China from the United States and successfully converted into freighter configuration. As domestic 757 feedstock became increasingly scarce in June 2016, SF Airlines realized it had to look beyond China to source feedstock, and so the carrier set out to introduce aircraft coming out of American Airlines’ 757-heavy passenger fleet.

In the years since the project was launched, SF Airlines’ “American Airlines introduction team” made many trips to the US to conduct on-site inspections and collect the documentation necessary to obtain the Civil Aviation Administration of China’s (CAAC) approval for the imports. Jumping ahead to February 2018, after a prolonged 20-month endeavor, SF Airlines finally took redelivery of the first ex-American Airlines Precision-converted 757-200PCF (29423).

Four more aircraft have already been inducted for conversion, and between two-and-six additional conversions are on the way. Precision is in the process of converting three aircraft at the Ameco facility in Chengdu (27805, 27201, and 27052), while the other STC-holder, ST Aerospace Engineering, inducted another 757-200 for conversion (27245) at its Seletar facility in June.

Beyond the four units currently in conversion, Cargo Facts believes SF Airlines has outstanding orders for six additional conversions. Although the feedstock is likely to be sourced from American Airlines, the distribution of orders between ST Aerospace and Precision is not yet clear.

Learn more about narrowbody freighter conversions on 10-12 October at Cargo Facts Symposium, where a roundtable panel discussion will be dedicated to the topic. For more information, or to register, visit www.cargofactssymposium.com. Discounted early bird registration ends tomorrow, 24 August.

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