London - Conversion of passenger airplanes to the freighter function increased 7% in 2017, with 91 aircraft modified. In that period, the main highlight was the 50% growth in the conversions of wide-body aircraft, with a total of 28.
According to Flight Fleets Analyzer 2017 published by Flight Global, the most converted model was the Boeing 767-300 among the wide-body jets with 24 modified devices. These aircraft were commissioned by companies such as Aloha Air Cargo, Atlas Air and Prime Air of the Amazon.
Other wide-body jets modified in 2017 were an Airbus A300-600 converted for Uni-Top Airlines, and the delivery of the first A330P2F to ASL Airlines, which was modified by Airbus
Conversions of narrow-body jets, on the other hand, became significantly less than in 2016, as the publication points out. In total, 54 jets of that category were converted, three aircraft less than the previous year.
Among the narrow-body jets, the most modified model was the jets of the Boeing 737 family, with 32 conversions. The amount includes 24 737-400, five 737-300, two 737-700 and a 737-800, the first of the 737 Next Generation series modified to carry cargo .
The 737 conversions stabilized in 2017. This year will be good for the 737 Classic and 757," said Chris Seymor, Flight Fleet Analyzer consultant. " Although the supply is running out, it could be a good year,he added, referring to veteran Boeing jets that are becoming a rarity.
Conversions for the Boeing 757 dropped from 27 to 16 units in 2017. Other narrow-body jets modified last year were five MD-80s and a Bombardier CRJ200.
The main buyers of narrow-body cargo jets in 2017 were ASL Airlines (6, 737-400SF), West Atlantic (4, 737-400SF), DHL (6, 757-200SF), SF Airlines (4, 757-200SF) and Aeronaves TSM (4, MD-82SF).
Although there are new rivals with the arrival of the first A321, the 737 Next Generation will have a larger share in 2018. But the main problems will be price and availability. Initial customers will primarily be lessors and Chinese operators,predicts Seymor.
In the turbo-propeller segment only nine conversions were recorded, one less than in 2016. The list includes four ATR 72-200, two Dash-8 100, one Bombardier Q200 and two Saab 340B.