Boeing on November 14 announced plans to add three conversion lines for its 737-800BCF across North America and Europe. The investment includes two conversion lines scheduled to be in operation by 2023 at KF Aerospace in Kelowna, British Columbia, as well as one conversion line scheduled to open in 2022 at Boeing’s London Gatwick Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) facility, in the United Kingdom.
“We’re very excited to be expanding our relationship with Boeing,” said Gregg Evjen, chief operating officer, KF Aerospace. “We’ve been working with the Boeing product line for more than 30 years. With our cargo conversion experience, our highly skilled workforce and all the technical requirements already in place, we’re ready to get to work and help serve Boeing’s customers.”
In announcing its conversion line investment, Boeing also noted it has signed a firm order with Icelease for 11 of the 737-800BCF freighters as the launch customer for the Gatwick conversion line. For Icelease, which recently expanded its cooperation with Corrum Capital through a joint venture called Carolus Cargo Leasing, the order for 11 737-800BCF will be its first converted freighter order with Boeing.
“Building a diverse and global network of conversion facilities is critical to supporting our customers’ growth and meeting regional demand,” said Jens Steinhagen, director of Boeing Converted Freighters. “KF Aerospace and our Boeing teammates at London Gatwick have the infrastructure, capabilities and expertise required to deliver market-leading Boeing Converted Freighters to our customers.”
Earlier this year, Boeing announced it would create additional 737-800BCF conversion capacity at several sites, including a third conversion line at Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Company Limited (GAMECO), and two conversion lines in 2022 with a new supplier, Cooperativa Autogestionaria de Servicios Aeroindustriales (COOPESA) in Costa Rica. Once the new lines become active, Boeing will have conversion sites in North America, Asia and Europe.
Boeing forecasts 1,720 freighter conversions will be needed over the next 20 years to meet demand. Of those, 1,200 will be standard-body conversions, with nearly 20% of that demand coming from European carriers, and 30% coming from North America and Latin America.
Boeing explains the 737-800BCF is the standard body freighter market leader with more than 200 orders and commitments from 19 customers.