Hello, 100! 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter enters triple-digit territory

Customers lean on “workhorse for the air cargo market” to grow e-commerce networks

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VIDEO: Celebrating the delivery of the 100th 737-800BCF

Less than five years since the platform’s initial service entry in 2018, the 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter (BCF) has reached its triple-digit delivery milestone, fueled by the freighter’s suitability for use in time-definite express and e-commerce networks. Boeing recently delivered the 100th contracted 737-800BCF to AerCap, the world’s largest lessor, which coincidentally, also took delivery of the first 737-800BCF back in 2018.

“The 737-800BCF is becoming the workhorse for the air cargo market because it has one engine type and a standard build across the -800 fleet, plus it’s a reliable freighter, which is really important,” said Rich Greener, Head of AerCap Cargo. “This has helped AerCap Cargo develop the various e-commerce and express networks with our customers.” AerCap Cargo has delivered nearly 50 737-800BCF to twelve airlines around the world.

"The 737-800BCF is becoming the workhorse for the air cargo market because it has one engine type and a standard build across the -800 fleet, plus it’s a reliable freighter, which is really important."

Rich Greener, Head of AerCap Cargo

Global e-commerce growth, already strong prior to the pandemic, has leapfrogged expectations in recent years as consumers increasingly choose to fill their virtual shopping carts. Dedicated freighters like the 737-800BCF are playing an important role in ensuring parcels reach customer doorsteps in a reliable and predictable fashion. 

“Looking back at the first 737-800BCF rollout, we could see the market potential of this program, but nobody could have predicted we would be celebrating this milestone in 2022,” said Jens Steinhagen, director of the Boeing Converted Freighters. “Our customers remind us every day how vital the platform is to their operations – whether it be accommodating growing demand for air cargo, opening up new markets, or advancing towards their sustainability goals.”  

Bahrain-based Texel Air, which introduced the 737-800BCF earlier this year, has been able to serve new markets with the freighter’s greater range and payload capability. “It puts Central Asia, Africa, Indian Subcontinent and edges of Europe within our reaching. It has great operating economics, and is tried and tested in the passenger space, and complements our fleet very well,” said Patrick Fennell, Chief Operating Officer of Texel Air. 

With 20% lower fuel use compared to the 737 Classic freighters which preceded them, 737-800BCF operators are recognizing the savings in both fuel and emissions.

“In striving to meet our customers’ need for more capacity and better range, as well as our own policy to reduce emissions - ASL committed to the  737-800BCF,” said Dave Andrew, Chief Executive, ASL Aviation Holdings. The Ireland-based aviation group, whose airlines operate for the world’s leading integrators as well as major e-commerce companies, has firm ordered 40 737-800BCF, 20 of which have already been delivered or are in conversion process. “This is a big step in our fleet renewal program as well as a significant advance in our carbon emissions reduction program,” said Andrew. 

Central to the uptick in 737-800BCF deliveries has been the addition of conversion capacity at global MRO sites. Starting from a single conversion line at Boeing Shanghai Aviation Services in 2017, there are now multiple 737-800BCF conversion lines at five facilities around the globe. 

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