12 More Boeing 737-800 Converted Freighters Ordered By BBAM

Leasing company BBAM is showing the strength of the freighter market with the purchase of an additional 12 737-800BCFs (Boeing converted freighters.) The new agreement adds to an existing commitment for 19, making for a total of 31 aircraft of the type headed for the major aircraft lessor.

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BBAM has over 200 airline customers in over 50 countries. The firm is managing over 500 aircraft. Photo: Boeing

The demand for freighters is high

Without a doubt, the pandemic continues to take its toll on aviation and air transportation. With passenger traffic still down in much of the world, belly-hold capacity has also been in short supply. At the same time, the continued rise of e-commerce is putting additional demand on getting goods shipped around the world quickly- much faster than cargo ships can manage.

This has created a huge opportunity for those willing and able to enter or increase their presence in the dedicated-freighter business. Canada alone offers two interesting examples, with Air Canada getting into the dedicated-freighter business with the conversion of some of its 767s and WestJet launching its own cargo division utilizing the 737-800BCF.

Indeed, it looks like global lessor BBAM is fully aware of this fact as it continues to acquire more freighters. With this in mind, Steve Zissis, president and CEO of BBAM, had the following to say about his firms latest deal:

“The Boeing Converted Freighter program is extending the life and enhancing the value of the 737-800s in our fleet…We are growing our Boeing order book to meet the strong demand we see worldwide for narrowbody freighters…”

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The seemingly inevitable rise of e-commerce is also contributing to freighter demand. Photo: Adam Moreira via Wikimedia Commons 

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Conversion to take place in Costa Rica

BBAM won’t be taking these converted 737 freighters just yet. In fact, the aircraft will still need to be converted from their passenger configurations to cargo use.

For the conversion work, Boeing has selected Cooperativa Autogestionaria de Servicios Aeroindustriales (COOPESA), a Costa Rica-based maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) provider.

While other firms exist to provide the conversion work, including China’s GAMECO and Israel’s IAI, BBAM will be the first customer to have a 737-800BCF converted by COOPESA. The Costa Rican firm is indeed a recent addition, with Boeing announcing the opening of two conversion lines at COOPESA in 2022.

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BBAM’s 737-800 conversions will be the first for COOPESA. Photo: Boeing

The popularity of the 737-800BCF

Commenting on the strong demand for converted 737-800 freighters, Jens Steinhagen, director of Boeing freighter conversions, said,

“This most recent order underscores the continued strong demand for our market-leading freighter, and we are honored by BBAM’s continued confidence in Boeing,”

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A number of firms are certified to convert the 737-800 from passenger jet to freighter. Photo: Boeing

Boeing states that the 737-800BCF has won more than 200 orders and commitments (up from 150 in January) with 16 customers to date. With that number having gone up by 33% alone since January, we can only most certainly expect to have that number climb further in the months to come.

What’s your reaction to this news? Could we see more orders like this in the future? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment.

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