Shanghai Airlines' MRO could be 2nd 767 conversion shop

Singapore
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Boeing Shanghai Aviation Services is tipped to become the second centre in the world that the aircraft manufacturer may select for 767-300 passenger-to-freighter conversions.

The aircraft-maker’s VP for commercial aviation services, Louis Mancini, describes current demand for 767-300 Boeing Converted Freighters (BCF) as smooth and says while this remains the case there will be no need for Boeing to have a second company do 767-300BCFs.

But if demand becomes strong there will be a need for a second shop and it is likely to be Boeing Shanghai Aviation Services, he says.

“If demand is smooth then we won’t need to have too much capacity but if demand is strong then we may have to do some conversions at the Boeing Shanghai facility,” he says.

Mancini made the disclosure to Flight today on the sidelines of an event in Singapore at Singapore Technologies Aerospace (ST Aero), which is currently the only company in the world permitted to do 767-300 conversions under Boeing’s programme.

Today ST Aero held a ceremony to mark the formal delivery of the first 767-300BCF. It was delivered to launch customer All Nippon Airways Cargo which has seven 767-300BCFs on firm order.

US aviation leasing company Q Aviation is the other company that has ordered 767-300BCFs, with 10 on firm order and options for 10 more.

Mancini says because ST Aero is currently the only company authorised to convert 767-300s under the BCF programme it is likely to get the contract to produce Q Aviation’s 767-300BCFs.

Boeing Shanghai Aviation Services is a joint venture between Boeing with 60%, Shanghai Airlines with 25% and the Shanghai Airport Authority with 15%.

The company’s first hangar is currently under construction and is due to be operational in April. It is located at Shanghai Pudong International Airport and will carry out maintenance, repair and overhaul work on Shanghai Airlines’ aircraft as well as aircraft for third-party customers.

Shanghai Airlines operates 767-300ER passenger aircraft in addition to other aircraft types and the carrier’s chairman, Zhou Chi, told ATI last December that if the airline decides to convert its 767s to freighters it will get Boeing Shanghai Aviation Services to do the work.

Shanghai Airlines currently uses Boeing 757Fs and Boeing MD-11Fs for its dedicated cargo operations.

Some cargo airlines in recent times have announced plans to dispose of their MD-11Fs because the three-engined aircraft is less profitable to operate in the face of high fuel prices.

But Boeing VP freighter conversions Dennis Floyd, who was also at today’s ST Aero event, defended the future viability of the MD-11F and the MD-11 freighter programme.

ST Aero president Tay Kok Khiang says there are 20 MD-11 passenger aircraft around the world that could still be converted to freighters and Floyd says 14 of these are currently in play.

Floyd says 10 of the 14 are with KLM and the Dutch carrier will be deciding soon whether to convert these to freighters.


Source: flightglobal.com's sister premium news site Air Transport Intelligence news