ASL Airlines Australia – the operator formerly known as Pionair Australia – has taken delivery of its first Boeing 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter (BCF), which it expects to put into commercial operations in the coming months.

Australia’s first 737-800BCF, the aircraft (VH-CYK) is also the first of parent ASL Aviation’s 40-unit commitment for the converted freighter.

ASLA B737-800BCF VH-CYK 1[94][43][3]

Source: ASL Aviation

Passenger-to-freighter conversion took place in 2022

According to Cirium fleets data, the aircraft was delivered – in passenger configuration – to now-defunct Indian operator Jet Airways in 2006.

When the airline collapsed in 2019, it briefly operated with compatriot SpiceJet for about a year before being returned to lessor Avolon in 2020, amid the Covid-19 pandemic. It was then converted into a freighter in 2022.

“Given the unique capabilities of the aircraft, ASL Airlines Australia is already in discussion with customers and expects to operate its first commercial revenue flights soon,” the operator states.

Ireland-based ASL Aviation acquired Pionair in 2023 and rebranded it the same year to align with other ASL units.

ASL Australia currently operates a mix of Embraer 190-E2 twinjets and BAE Systems Avro models. Apart from charter operations, the airline provides night freight services on Australia’s east coast, operating for Qantas Freight on behalf of FedEx and Australia Post.

ASL Aviation already has several carriers – four in Europe, plus airlines in Thailand India and South Africa – operating a total of around 160 aircraft.