Boeing has agreed to provide China Postal Airlines with 10 737NG Boeing Converted Freighters (BCFs), pending Boeing formally deciding to launch the 737 BCF program.
China Postal’s agreement with Boeing – which includes the purchase of seven Boeing 757-200s that the airline plans to convert into freighters – marks the largest purchase contract in the airline’s history.
Beijing-based China Postal Airlines joins Hangzhou-based YTO Airlines as a launch customer for the Boeing 737 BCF program.
Through its converted freighter programs (the 747-400 BCF program is probably the best-known), Boeing extends the service life of some of its passenger jets by modifying them to function as freighters.
“This is a historic order both for China Postal and Boeing,” says Yufeng Li, president of China Postal Airlines, who signed the agreement with Boeing leaders at a December 15 ceremony in Beijing.
“The 737-800 BCF will bring to our freighter fleet more advanced avionics, better fuel efficiency and lower operating costs that will ensure China Postal’s continued success as a leader in the industry,” adds Yufeng.
Boeing has chosen the 737-800 to be the first 737NG model it will offer for conversion. Through the 737 BCF program, Boeing will support customers in the narrowbody freighter market, a segment of the freighter market growing quickly around the world.
“We are committed to this program, which addresses a growing need in the market, and are currently working closely with multiple customers in China and around the world who are interested in the experience, reliable execution and seamless global support Boeing brings,” says Rick Anderson, vice president, sales and marketing for Boeing Commercial Aviation Services.
Boeing forecasts that the China air express market will be among the fastest-growing segments of the world air cargo market.
According to the Boeing World Air Cargo Forecast, world air cargo traffic will grow 4.7 per cent per year over the next 20 years, with domestic China and intra-Asia markets expanding 6.7 per cent and 6.5 per cent per year, respectively.
“With its express market growing at a double-digit rate fueled by e-commerce, China has surpassed the United States to become the number one e-commerce market in the world,” says Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president, Northeast Asia sales for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.