Boeing Inks Firm Order for Six 737-800 Converted Freighters

Boeing’s recent flurry of orders for cargo airplanes extended to the standard-body segment on Tuesday as San Francisco-based BBAM Limited Partnership placed a firm order for six 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighters (BCF) and options for six more, the airframer said Tuesday. The agreement brings BBAM’s 737-800BCF orders and commitment total to 15 and reflects the relative strength of the e-commerce and express cargo market during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As we look ahead to expanding our cargo fleet, the 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter provides the performance and efficiency our customers need,” said Steve Zissis, CEO of BBAM. “Adding these highly capable freighters to 276 Boeing airplanes in our managed fleet helps to further strengthen our leadership position in the marketplace.”

BBAM ranks as the world’s largest dedicated manager of investments in leased commercial jet aircraft. Its customer base over the past three decades covers more than 200 airline customers in more than 50 countries. BBAM calls itself the only manager in the aircraft leasing industry that concentrates exclusively on generating investment returns for third-party investors.

Even before the Covid crisis took hold early last year, a lull in worldwide cargo traffic hadn’t tempered the ambitions of Boeing Global Services’ freighter business, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, as the U.S. airframer prepared to open a sixth conversion line in China for the 737-800BCF while negotiating the terms of a contract with BBAM Aircraft Leasing covering three of the airplanes. That order, signed during February’s Singapore Airshow, called for the conversion of three 737s in BBAM’s existing fleet.

Performance improvements the BCF provides over 737 Classic freighters include capacity and range while the 737-800BCF’s reduced fuel burn brings clear economic benefits. The BCF carries up to 52,800 pounds of cargo while flying routes of up to 2,000 nautical miles. Twelve pallet positions—11 standard pallets and one half-pallet—provide 5,000 cubic feet of cargo space on the main deck, supplemented by two lower-lobe compartments providing more than 1,540 cubic feet of space for bulk cargo.

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