Boeing has completed its first 737NG passenger-to-freighter conversion and is set to deliver the aircraft to Swedish cargo operator West Atlantic early next year.
West Atlantic confirms that the 737-800BCF has arrived in the USA for flight tests following conversion by the manufacturer's Chinese maintenance and modification joint venture Boeing Shanghai Aviation Services.
The aircraft is scheduled to be certificated in late December and delivered to West Atlantic's UK division in early February, the carrier says.
Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that the 737-800 (MSN 32740) was manufactured in 2004 and operated by several airlines, including defunct US carrier Ryan International Airlines and Czech charter operator Travel Service.
It is Travel Service that most recently operated the the aircraft in passenger service, using it until earlier this year.
GECAS – which managed the aircraft throughout its service life – in June disclosed a deal under which it lease four 737-800s to West Atlantic. All the aircraft are to be delivered by 2019.
In addition to Boeing Shanghai, the US manufacturer has partnered with Chinese maintenance specialist Taikoo Aircraft Engineering as a modification centre for its 737-800BCF programme.
Earlier this year, Israel Aerospace Industries delivered the first 737NG converted freighter – a 2001-vintage 737-700 – to Alaska Airlines' cargo arm.