Aeronautical Engineers has entered an agreement to provide aircraft lessor Macquarie AirFinance with four B737-800SF freighter conversions for e-commerce and express cargo.
As one of the largest lessor owners of mature 737-800 aircraft, John Willingham, chief executive of Macquarie AirFinance, explained it makes business sense to extend their life and continue to evolve its offering.
“Passenger-to-freighter conversions form a natural progression of Macquarie AirFinance’s portfolio strategy, enabling the useful life of aircraft to be extended up to 40 years,” AEI said.
AEI’s converted B737-800SF offers a main deck payload of up to 23,904 kilos and incorporates 11 full pallet (88” x 125”) positions, plus an AEP/AEH. The conversion also incorporates new floor beams aft of the wing box and a large main cargo door (86” x 137”) with a single vent door system.
“Beyond the benefits of lower fuel consumption and operating costs compared to older 737 classic freighters, the AEI B737-800SF freighter was designed for operational dependability in real-world environments, which is especially beneficial in the fast-paced segment of express cargo,” said Robert T. Convey, senior vice president of sales & marketing.
AEI’s design allows for containers to be loaded into the aircraft a full 16.5” aft of the forward door jamb, ensuring enough room for ground operators to minimise potential door and aircraft strikes. It also includes a flexible Ancra Cargo Loading System, a rigid 9g barrier, five supernumerary seats as standard, a galley, and full lavatory.
The aircraft will be modified at authorised conversion centre Commercial Jet in Miami, Florida.
The recent deal comes after AEI received orders from Honolulu-based carrier Transair to convert an B737-400SF, which will enter the Commercial Jet conversion center in Dothan, Alabama.
When asked how business is doing so far, Convey told Payload Asia that AEI has 15 aircraft in work at five of its authorised conversion centres and have been aggresively hiring to meet the demand.
“2021 is shaping up to be the best year in AEI’s 63 year history! “We are on track to convert 36+ narrowbody freighters in 2021 and 45+ in 2022,” he noted.