Boeing completes first 737NG conversion to freighter
Renton - Boeing has a new product based on an old acquaintance. The American manufacturer completed the first conversion of a 737-800 Next Generation jet to the freighter function last week, a result of the program launched in February 2016.
The company calls the new freighter 737 BCF (Boeing Converted Freighters). The first model will be delivered to Sweden's West Atlantic in early 2018.
Like most cargo planes, the 737 BCF is not "zero km". The package offered by the manufacturer modifies aircraft that previously carried passengers. In addition to removing all the seats from the cabin and including a special floor, another important step in the conversion process is the installation of a large door in the fuselage for loading and unloading cargo.
The 737 is the most common freighter in the world market with models based on the 737 generation known as "Classic"
According to Boeing data, the new 737 freighter has 141.5 cubic meters of space in the converted cabin, enough to ship loads of up to 23.9 tons. The range of the aircraft is 3,690 km (2293 NM), less than that of the commercial 737-800NG, which reaches up to 5,575 km (3464 NM).
Airplanes like the 737 are built to be used for 30 years, in some cases even longer than that. However, not all of these aircraft remain in commercial aviation all this time, and after years of flying with passengers, they are modified to carry cargo where they end their careers.
Currently, the 737 is the most common freighter in the world market with models based on the 737 generation known as "Classic", manufactured by Boeing between 1984 and 2000. They are already beginning to feel the weight of age and soon will be replaced by "new" freighters.
The conversion of the old 737 Next Generation to the new function is a natural trend in aviation. Launched in 1997, Boeing manufactured more than 6,500 units of the 737 NG, and still in production with the introduction of the new generation 737 MAX series.
Interestingly, Boeing was not the first to convert a 737 NG to the cargo version. Earlier this year, Israel Aerospace Industries delivered the first 737-700NG freighter to Alaska Airlines.