On Tuesday, Bahrain-based cargo operator Texel Air took delivery of the world’s first Boeing 737-700 FlexCombi™. The result of a collaboration between the carrier and Pemco Conversions, the aircraft will feature no less than seven different configurations, including a setup for medical evacuations.
A world-first in flexibility
A little over a month after the FAA’s all-clear on Pemco Conversions’ Boeing 737-700 FlexCombi™, the first of its kind has arrived to launch customer Texel Air. The 16-year old converted jet has a history of flying passengers for Air Berlin and Yakutia Airlines. Now, it has found a new home and mission transporting both people and cargo in the Middle East.
The aircraft, which arrived at the carrier’s hangar at Bahrain International Airport on Tuesday, is a world-first in flexibility. Its operator will have a total of seven different configurations to choose from.
The plane’s delivery was welcomed by H.E Engineer Kamal bin Ahmed Mohamed, Minister of Transportation & Telecommunications of Bahrain, along with Texel Air’s Board members.
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Switching in 12 to 48 hours
Pemco’s new 737-700 FlexCombi™ has been refitted to accommodate, not just a couple, but seven different configurations. Moreover, it is designed to transition between any of them in as little as 48 hours, and between a few in a mere 12. One of them is even a medical evacuation configuration, featuring two specialty stretchers from Spectrum Aeromed.
“We are delighted to welcome the arrival of our first-of-a-kind Boeing 737-700 FlexCombi™ to the Kingdom of Bahrain, where we have proudly grown from an organic start-up airline to a leading innovator,” George Chisholm, Chief Executive Officer for Texel Air’s parent company Chisholm Enterprises, said in a statement.
“From our strategic position in Bahrain, a growing regional hub for aviation and logistics, we will operate this versatile aircraft, serving an international roster of clients that have long awaited a solution that provides them with unmatched levels of flexibility.”
Seven configurations in total
At the moment, the carrier describes three of the aircraft’s seven configurations as “initial.” Meanwhile, it lists the other four as “planned.”
The initial ones are:
- Cargo mode: eight pallet positions, with a fully removable passenger interior.
- Combi 1: seven pallet positions and 12 economy seats.
- Combi 2: six pallet positions and 24 economy seats
- Combi 3: six pallet positions and 12 economy, four business class seats.
- Combi 4: six pallet positions and eight business class seats.
- Combi 5: seven pallet positions and four business class seats
- MEDEVAC: six pallet positions, two Spectrum AEROMED stretchers, and six economy seats.
Texel Air is yet to respond to a request for comment on a timeline regarding when the planned configurations will be installed at the time of publication. However, it is an impressive feat of flexibility by Pemco Conversions nonetheless.
Landed “Innovator of the Year” for Pemco
The new FlexCombi™ is the latest in a line of collaborations between Texel and Pemco. After initially reaching out to Boeing themselves, Texel brought the new mission back to Pemco Conversions, and the program commenced in 2017. Furthermore, the Tampa-based conversion house was awarded “Innovator of the Year” at the Chicago Freighters World conference the same year.
What do you think of the new flexible combi-freighter 737? Do you think all those configurations will be useful to any great extent? Let us know in the comments.