Boeing has inked a deal with leasing company Guggenheim Aviation Partners to convert three 767-300ER passenger craft to freighters. The conversions will be conducted at ST Aviation Services Co. in Singapore, with Boeing officials overseeing the engineering process. Deliveries are slated for 2013.
Steve Rimmer, Guggenheim Aviation Partners’ CEO, said buying a freighter conversion was a better choice in the current economy. “We believe the 767-300 Boeing Converted Freighter, with performance characteristics similar to a 767 production freighter, provides a flexible, economic and attractive option for the medium-haul freighter market, and we look forward to delivering this to our clients in 2013.”
In a press release, Boeing called the conversions historic, marking the first time an Aviation Partners Boeing 767 with Blended Winglets is converted to a freighter. Once altered, the 767-300BCFs with Blended Winglets will each boast 52 tonnes of cargo capacity and 5.5-percent more fuel efficiency on a 3000-nautical mile mission.
The conversions also signify good news for a market that has seen its ups and downs lately. Last month, Dan da Silva, vice president for freighter conversions at Boeing, revealed to Air Cargo World that Boeing had only performed three 747-400 conversions this year: two for Thai Airways and one for Evergreen International Airlines. “The market has been quite challenging since 2008,” da Silva said. “And we have also been victims of the success of the 777 [freighter] and the 747-8.”
Plus, as carriers took freighters out of the market in response to soaring costs and slumping yields, their efforts to find buyers or lessors for some of these planes have flooded the market with large freighters. Simply put, Air Atlanta Icelandic’s Baldvin Hermannsson said, there’s currently an influx of BCFs in the market. “It is a buyer’s market for BCFs right now,” he told Air Cargo World.