PEMCO World Air Services is displaying the first 737-700 passenger-to-FlexCombi converted aircraft at this week’s Bahrain International Air Show. PEMCO launched the conversion program in April 2017, when it also announced Bahrain-based Chisholm Enterprises, the parent of charter operator Texel Air, as the launch customer for the combi aircraft.
This is not the first combi conversion program offered by Air Transport Services Group-owned PEMCO, which also offers a 737-400 passenger-to-combi program. But it is the first of what PEMCO has dubbed its “FlexCombis.” The “Flex” is due to the three configuration options available, rather than the single, fixed configuration offered by most combi aircraft:
- A 24-passenger cabin, plus a 74.8-cubic-meter cargo hold for up to 13.6 tonnes of payload in six pallet positions;
- A 12-passenger cabin, plus an 85.1-cubic-meter cargo hold for up to 15.9 tonnes of payload in seven pallet positions;
- A full-freighter mode consisting of a 95.4-cubic-meter cargo hold for up to 18.1 tonnes of payload in eight pallet positions.
- Six of the pallet positions will accommodate 88” x 125” or 88” x 108” pallets, with the seventh and eighth positions accommodating smaller pallets.
Alongside PEMCO’s FlexCombi, the company will also offer a full-freighter conversion for the 737-700. The P-to-F will feature nine pallet positions, up to 20.4 tonnes of payload, and 108.9 cubic meters of total volume. Eight of the positions will accommodate 88” x 125” or 88” x 108” pallets, with the ninth position accommodating a smaller pallet.
Discussion of the future of 737-700 conversions was a topic of interest at last month’s Cargo Facts Symposium in San Diego. Among NG conversions, there is less widespread appeal for the -700, compared to the -800, due to the -700’s smaller size. However, the -700 has undeniable appeal for certain niche operations – for example, in Alaska Airlines’ fleet, which calls in certain smaller airports with short runways. Panelists estimated that there could be fifty or more conversions of the type in the years ahead.