Precision Conversions has joined Pemco World Air Services in launching a passenger-to-combi (P2C) conversion programme for the Boeing 757.

Oregon-based Precision announced on 20 October plans to certify the 757-200 Precision Conversions Combi (PCC) after securing an order for three P2C conversions from Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) subsidiary Cargo Aircraft Management. ATSG says it will use the 757-200PCCs to replace its McDonnell Douglas DC-8 combis, which are currently operated by subsidiary Air Transport International on charters primarily for the US military.

Precision Conversions has been converting 757 passenger aircraft into freighters since certifying its 757-200PCF in 2005. VP marketing and sales Brian McCarthy tells ATI and Flightglobal the firm has been working on developing a potential combi product for some time but was waiting for a launch customer before formally launching the programme.

Speaking to ATI and Flightglobal at the 20 October Cargo Facts Aircraft Symposium in Miami, McCarthy says it will take about 12 months for Precision to certify the 757-200PCC. He expects the first aircraft will be re-delivered to ATSG in late 2011.

Precision Conversions says its 757-200PCC will accommodate 10 full size pallets and seat up to 58 passengers.

Pemco earlier this year became the first conversion shop to launch a P2C conversion programme for the 757. Pemco CEO Wake Smith told the Cargo Facts conference that it has already begun working on three 757-200 P2C conversions for launch customer National Air Cargo and a fourth 757 is "about to arrive" at its Alabama facility.

Pemco president Kevin Casey says it will only take Pemco four to five months to certify its P2C 757 conversion and all four aircraft are slated to be re-delivered to Michigan-based National Air Cargo in the first half of 2011. The Pemco product will accommodate 10 pallet positions and 46 passengers in premium economy seating.

Speaking to ATI and Flightglobal at Cargo Facts, Casey says the certification process is relatively quick because the STC will be partially based on the P2F conversion for the 757-200 initially secured by Alcoa-SIE Conversions in 2006. Pemco will also draw from its experience converting Boeing 737-400 passenger aircraft into combis for Alaska Airlines.

Pemco acquired the Alcoa-SIE 757-200 P2F STC late last year and has since begun offering 757-200 P2F conversions. Pemco has not done or sold any 757 P2F conversions but Casey is hopeful P2F conversions will begin next year.

McCarthy says Precision to date has completed 27 757 P2F conversions, including five so far this year. It previously converted two 757s for ATSG subsidiary Capital Cargo International Airlines.

Precision currently has its aircraft converted at two MRO firms - Flightstar Aircraft Services in Florida and Taikoo (Xiamen) Aircraft Engineering (TAECO) in China. TAECO converted its first aircraft for Precision earlier this year and McCarthy says going forward he expects the Chinese firm to convert about half of the conversions sold by Precision.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news