Boeing is working to finalise agreements with at least one modification partner by the end of the year to undertake passenger to freighter (PTF) conversions of 767-300s, following the launch of its Boeing Converted Freighter (BCF) programme for the twinjet last week.

Boeing launched the programme with an order from Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) for up to seven passenger -300s to be modified into freighters, including four options. Although it already has a licensing agreement with Italy’s Aeronavali for PTF conversion of the 767-200, Boeing says it has not yet selected a conversion specialist to undertake the -300BCF work and confirms negotiations are under way with “several” potential modification houses. It adds that to meet the ANA schedule a decision is “possible by next month”.

Boeing declines to comment on speculation that Aeronavali may be forced to compete for the work against potential newcomers to the 767 conversion market such as Singapore Technologies Aerospace (ST Aero). “At this point, it’s just too early to say,” says the company.

Aeronavali chief executive Agostino Melani confirms the company is in negotiations and says he hopes to have agreement in principle by the end of the year. “We are in discussions with Boeing. We have not yet signed, but we’re very close to reaching the main understanding of major topics,” he says.

ST Aero recently told Flight International that it was “open for discussions” about a role on the 767-300BCF programme, adding that “there is nothing concrete as yet”. ANA will have its own 767-300ER passenger aircraft converted into BCFs, with those on firm conversion order to be redelivered between December 2007 and October 2008.

The converted 767-300ER freighter will have similar specifications to the production model in terms of payload, range and maximum take-off weight. It will be able to carry up to 54t of freight a range of around 5,920km (3,200nm). Maximum take-off weight will be 187,100kg (412,000lb) and there will be 24 pallet positions on the main deck, says Boeing. The prototype conversion will take around nine months to complete.

Additional reporting by nicholas ionides in singapore and Helen Massy-Beresford in London


Source: Flight International