MIAMI – Global cargo and e-commerce segments continue to promote high demand for production and converted freighters, and Boeing is at the ready.

The American airframer reported on May 5 it has reached an agreement with a Costa Rica-based maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) provider to increase the conversion rate for the 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter (BCF).

In Alajuela, Costa Rica, Boeing will open two 737-800BCF conversion lines with Cooperativa Autogestionaria de Servicios Aeroindustriales (COOPESA). The first of the new lines would open in early 2022, followed by the second later that year.

Besides, Boeing estimates that 1,500 freighter conversions will be needed over the next 20 years. 1,080 of those will be standard-body conversions, with North America and Latin America accounting for about a third of the whole market.

Market-leading 737-800BCF now has more than 180 orders and commitments. Photo: Boeing

Comments from Boeing, COOPESA

“COOPESA has demonstrated the technical expertise and commitment to quality and execution necessary to help us meet the growing customer demand for the 737-800BCF, including in the Americas,” said Jens Steinhagen, director of Boeing freighter conversions. “Boeing is pleased to have COOPESA join our team of MRO partners as we deliver our market-leading converted freighters to customers around the world.”

“We are honored that Boeing has chosen COOPESA as a strategic partner to provide conversion services for the 737-800BCF,” said Kenneth Waugh, CEO of COOPESA. “We look forward to helping Boeing meet market demand with the technical quality and skilled workforce that has characterized COOPESA in its 58 years of operation.”

Boeing already converts 737-800 passenger planes to freighters at three places in China. First is Boeing’s Shanghai Aviation Services (BSAS). Second is Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Company Limited (GAMECO), and the third facility is Taikoo (Shandong) Aircraft Engineering Co. Ltd. (STAECO) in Jinan, China.

More than 180 orders and commitments from 15 customers on four continents have been received so far for the 737-800BCF. Boeing re-delivered the 50th 737-800BCF aircraft after it entered operations in 2018.

Featured image: Boeing