A "special Freighter"(SF) conversion of the 767-200, along with the MD-10, is being offered by Boeing to UPS for its ongoing McDonnell Douglas DC-8 replacement competition.

Boeing is offering these aircraft against freighter conversions of the Airbus Industrie A300B4 and Lockheed L-1011 TriStar for the UPS Widebody Regional Freighter requirement. This covers the eventual replacement of 49 DC-8-70 freighters, generating an eventual requirement for "up to 60 or so aircraft", says Boeing.

If successful, the development of the 767-200SF could considerably alter the dynamics of the mid-size freighter market. This has only recently begun to develop into the widebody arena with a spate of modification programmes, principally the DC-10/MD-10 conversion for FedEx.

It is widely expected, however, that the relatively high price and limited availability of suitable 767-200s may place question marks over the success of the bid.

In addition, the MD-10 programme, like the competing A300 conversion efforts at British Aerospace and Daimler-Benz Aerospace, has the advantage of being launched.

Boeing confirms that it "-is in the running for that business" and expects that a decision could be made "in mid-May or possibly June". It has proposed to develop and deliver the first 767-200SF by 2000, if selected.

The baseline 767 conversion would produce a freighter with a range exceeding 3,700km (2,000nm) and an "estimated payload" of 43,100kg, says Boeing. The modification would be done at Boeing's Wichita site in Kansas, and involves completely removing the existing floor and replacing it with the strengthened main deck designed originally for the -300F version. The 2.67 x 3.4m freight door, also developed for the -300F, would be inserted in the front left of the fuselage.

Source: Flight International