Freight GECAS expands B737-800 BCF Fleet

  • Gecas

The Irish-American commercial aircraft financing and leasing company GECAS has announced an agreement or up to 35 Boeing 737-800 Converted Freighters.

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The deal, which includes 20 firm orders and an option for 15 more, enables GECAS to serve the growing express air cargo market. With the new order, GECAS has ordered a total of 50 converted Boeing 737-800 Freighters and will become the largest company operating or leasing the aircraft type.

“This order and future commitment with Boeing reflects the confidence GECAS has in the 737-800BCF to replace and grow the narrow body freighter market,” said Richard Greener SVP and Manager GECAS Cargo Aircraft Group, adding “With total firm and option aircraft commitments now at fifty 737-800BCFs, GECAS will commit nearly $1.5 billion worth of 737-800s with conversions to the narrow body freighter sector.”

The B737-800BCF program was launched in 2016. According to Boeing, the aircraft is able to carry up to 23 tonnes of payload and should offer 20% lower fuel consumption compared to the B737 Classic freighters. Fully loaded, the aircraft should be able to fly from Frankfurt/Main to Jeddah or Astana.

Boeing developed the concept for the converted freighter as a successor of the Boeing 737-300 and -400 Classic aircraft, which need to be replaced in the next years. Several cargo airlines, like ASL Belgium (20 B737-400F) or Swift Air (1 B737-300F and 6 B737-400F) operate fleets with the aging aircraft. With a similar flight deck, the transition of current Classic Generation pilots to the new aircraft should be less complex. As several passenger airlines renew their fleet, a high number of older B737-800 is available on the market and can be used for conversion. Beside Boeing, several other companies offer conversion services for the single-aisle aircraft.

GECAS is the launch customer of the B737-800BCF. The leasing company took delivery of the first aircraft in April and leased it to the Swedish cargo carrier West Atlantic. West Atlantic has ordered four B737-800BCF to grow its fleet to 23 aircraft in the next months.

Several airlines are interested in smaller cargo aircraft. The African carrier Ethiopian Airlines has recently announced to lease two freighters from GECAS to increase cargo capacity on the African market. 

Together with the Elbe Flugzeugwerke, Airbus has developed a concept for an Airbus A320 P2F competitor for the Boeing aircraft.

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