Boeing revealed plans to build two new 737-800BCF conversion lines at STAECO’s facility in Jinan, China in order to help meet continued strong market demand in the air cargo sector.
On December 7, 2021, Boeing announced it has stepped into an agreement with Chinese aircraft engineering and maintenance service provider STAECO to open two new lines for the conversion of Boeing 737-800BCF [Boeing Converted Freighter, ed.-] planes.
The American plane manufacturer aims to open the first new line in Q1 2022, while the second is expected to start aircraft conversions as soon as mid-2022.
“Boeing is pleased to continue growing our strong and mutually beneficial relationship with STAECO by creating additional conversion capacity to meet growing global demand,” Peter Gao, vice president, Boeing Commercial Sales and Marketing for China, said in the statement.
The news follows Boeing’s forecast that over the next 20 years the global market will need as many as 1,720 converted freighters. Of those, 1,200 will be standard body conversions with Asia carriers accounting for 40% of that demand.
Boeing continues with plans to further develop its plane conversion lines worldwide. Currently, the company aims to open a single new conversion line at its London Gatwick Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul facility in the UK as well as two conversion lines at the KF Aerospace MRO facility in Canada, a third conversion line at GAMECO facility in China, and two lines at COOPESA facility in Costa Rica.
Once the new conversion lines have been launched, Boeing will have several B737-800BC conversion sites across North America, Asia, and Europe.