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PARIS: GECAS to be 737-800 conversion launch customer

US lessor GECAS has become the first customer to sign for Aeronautical Engineers’ freighter conversion programme for the Boeing 737-800.

Aeronautical Engineers formally launched the programme last year.

GECAS’s Cargo Aircraft Group has disclosed, during the Paris air show, that it intends to convert up to 20 of its passenger 737-800s to freighters.

Conversion will be undertaken at Aeronautical Engineers’ modification centres in China and the USA, beginning next year.

GECAS says it expects the modified aircraft to achieve US FAA supplemental type certification in 2017 at which point the 737-800SF will be offered for lease as a freighter.

The lessor’s executive vice-president for specialty markets, Christopher Damianos, says the company believes the type will be a “best-in-class” aircraft for replacement and expansion in the single-aisle cargo sector.

Cargo Aircraft Group has previously opted to convert 737-300s and -400s to freighters, and its portfolio of cargo jets also includes larger freighter types.

Aeronautical Engineers says that securing GECAS as the launch customer for the -800 conversion will offer the lessor a “high residual value solution” for its -800 fleet.

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