Bulgarian operator Cargo Air has become the first European carrier to take delivery of a converted Boeing 737-800 freighter from US specialist Aeronautical Engineers.

Aeronautical Engineers secured certification of the 737-800SF modification from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency on 7 May.

It has subsequently delivered the initial European aircraft (LZ-CGA) to Cargo Air.

The Sofia-based operator agreed with Aeronautical Engineers last year to take a pair of converted freighters, after cancelling a previous deal for two modified aircraft from a different conversion source.

Cargo Air 737-800SF-c-Aeronautical Engineers

Source: Aeronautical Engineers

EASA recently certified the 737-800SF

Its initial aircraft, MSN30664, was originally delivered to Chinese carrier Mandarin Airlines in January 2001.

The twinjet was operated by airlines including Scandinavia’s Primera Air before being sent to the USA for conversion last year.

Aeronautical Engineers says modification of Cargo Air’s second aircraft will begin in June at the Commercial Jet facility in Miami.

It says the 737-800SF provides a 23.9t payload capability on the main deck. EASA certification of the conversion follows approval from the US FAA and the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

Aeronautical Engineers adds that nine of its 14 freighter conversion production lines are dedicated to 737-800SF work. The company says it intends to deliver 24 freighters this year and over 30 in 2022.