This morning Spectre Air Capital has announced they are ordering 15 conversions from Israeli Aerospace Industries IAI for deliveries beginning in 2017.
Of the 15 airframes, three are confirmed to be going to Air Incheon. The other 12 remain a mystery. Air Cargo News and American Shipper both have reported the same news.
Aircraft leasing giant GECAS has also entered the 737-800 passenger to freighter conversion market with an announcement of their first placement of two 737-800 P2F with Dublin, Ireland based ASL Aviation Group.
I have officially stopped keeping a tally on how many 737-800 freighters are on order now. This must be somewhere near the 50 airplane mark and is estimated to go into the hundreds over the next few years as there really is no other narrow body freighter that will be able to do what the NG Boeing narrow body can.
According to Jordan Jaffe from Spectre;
Spectre’s large B737NG freighter commitment follows its 20-aircraft Boeing 767-300ER programme collaboration earlier this year with aircraft trading partner Jetran, the majority of which will become freighters and be operated in support of e-commerce giants such as Amazon’s Prime Air and China-based Alibaba.
Jordan Jaffe, Spectre’s chief executive and co-founder, said: “Demand for express freighters is at an all-time high, with hundreds more required in the coming years to meet the demand created by rapid growth in e-commerce and expansion of the global middle class.
“The classic freighter feedstock is becoming increasingly scarce and overly expensive for their age. We intend to leverage our ability to purchase in fleet-sized transactions to offer next-generation freighters with attractive economics.”
What he is saying is exactly what this blogger has been saying all along. This airplane will effectively render all other 737 freighters obsolete, not to mention any still operating 727s and even the 757 which are all getting very very old. DC-9/MD8X freighters never really made a big impact. The old Pratt engines are fantastic but the corporate pencil pushers will always prefer the CFMs in the newer Boeing airplanes.
Another big problem for these old airplanes will be the ADS-B requirements which will be mandatory by 2020. I am curious to see who the rest of these unannounced customers will be, or where they will find the pilots to fly all these airplanes.