GECAS’ Cargo Aircraft Group Launches Boeing 737-800NG Passenger-to-Freighter Conversion Program

June 19, 2015

LE BOURGET, PARIS, June 19, 2015 — GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), the aviation leasing and financing arm of GE [NYSE: GE], today announced the launch of its 737-800NG passenger-to-freighter conversion program.

GECAS plans to convert up to 20 of its Boeing 737-800NG passenger aircraft to freighters. AEI Aeronautical Engineers, Inc. will perform the conversions at its facilities in the U.S. and China. The first aircraft is scheduled for conversion starting in 2016 in order to earn FAA supplemental type certification (STC) in 2017 and subsequently enter service as a leased freighter.

“GECAS is pleased to launch its first 737-800 passenger-to-freighter conversion program,” said Christopher Damianos, Executive Vice President Specialty Markets at GECAS. “We believe the 737-800NG freighter will be the best-in-class aircraft for both replacement and growth in the narrow body freighter sector.”

Formed in 2000, GECAS’ Cargo Aircraft Group currently leases nearly 100 freighters to airline customers worldwide.  Its fleet includes the 737, 767, 747 and 777 freighter models. In 2001, GECAS announced plans to convert Boeing 737-300 and -400 aircraft from its portfolio to freighter aircraft. In 2002, the passenger-to-freighter program expanded to include Boeing 767-200 models. In 2005, GECAS began converting Boeing 747-400s to freighters.  In total, GECAS has leased over 60 converted freighters to air cargo carriers worldwide to help them expand or modernize their fleets.

“As the pre-eminent commercial airline leasing company in the world, we are elated to announce that GECAS is the launch customer for the AEI B737-800SF conversion program,” said Roy Sandri, AEI president. “This award is testament to the extraordinary quality, durability and value offered by the AEI conversion products.”

Bob Convey, AEI Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing said, “We expect that the B737-800SF will be a mainstay in cargo operators’ fleets for the next 20 plus years and we look forward to working with GECAS to provide them with a high residual value solution for their existing B737-800 fleet.”

About Aeronautical Engineers, Inc. (AEI)

Aeronautical Engineers, Inc. (AEI) is a global leader in the aircraft passenger-to-freighter conversion business and is the oldest conversion company in existence today.  Since the company’s founding in 1958, AEI has developed over 120 Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) and has modified over 400 aircraft with the STCs.  AEI helps its customers extend aircraft life and increase the overall value of aircraft assets by continuously focusing on dependable and flexible product offerings.  AEI currently offers passenger-to-freighter conversions for the Boeing 737-400, 737-300, 737-200 and MD-80 aircraft.  Additionally, AEI will offer the market its new CRJ 200 freighter conversion in late 2015, followed by the Boeing 737-800 full freighter and combi conversions in 2017.

Boeing, Qatar Confirm Purchase of Four C-17s

June 15, 2015

Expands airlift fleet to eight aircraft

Boeing to provide world-class sustainment for years to come

LE BOURGET, France, June 15, 2015 – Boeing (NYSE: BA) and the government of Qatar recently signed an agreement for the purchase of four more C-17 Globemaster III airlifters.

These aircraft will join the Qatar Armed Forces’ (QAF) existing fleet of four and help meet their ongoing airlift requirements.

“We are very pleased with the C-17s from Boeing and look forward to doubling our fleet to enhance worldwide operations,” said General Ahmed Al-Malki, Deputy Commander, Qatar Emiri Air Force and Chairman of The Airlift Committee.

“We’re confident the additional C-17s will significantly increase the QAF’s ability to support the people of Qatar and their allies with transport, airdrop and humanitarian missions,” said Tommy Dunehew, vice president of International Customer Service and Sales for Boeing Military Aircraft. “Boeing stands ready to support, sustain and maintain Qatar’s expanded fleet of C-17s to keep their planes mission ready.”

Qatar, the first Middle East customer to order C-17s, received two C-17s in 2009 and two additional C-17s in 2012.

In operation since 1991, C-17s are unmatched in their ability to transport troops or heavy cargo, to perform airdrop and aeromedical evacuations and to deliver humanitarian aid virtually anywhere in the world.

A unit of The Boeing Company, Defense, Space & Security is one of the world’s largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Defense, Space & Security is a $31 billion business with 53,000 employees worldwide.

LAN CARGO and its affiliates transport more than 200 million flowers to the United States for St. Valentine’s

February 16, 2015

During this season, 10 freighters full of flowers take off from Ecuador and Colombia on a daily basis.
Thursday, February 11, 2015 — LAN CARGO and its affiliates transport more than 16 million bouquets (a total of 200 million flowers) during the four-week rush that leads up to St. Valentine’s Day, the time of year during which flower exports reach their peak. During the season, companies transport around 30% of the total flower market in the region, or around 10,400 tons.

Between January 19 and February 8, the busiest weeks of the season, approximately 170 LAN CARGO and LAN CARGO Colombia freighters (10 per day) take off from Ecuador and Colombia, tripling the monthly average. The Bogota-Miami route, which regularly transports 720 tons of flowers  per week, the figure reaches 2,100 tons per week during the Valentine’s season.

Freighters take off from Bogota, Medellin (Colombia) and Quito (Ecuador) and fly mainly to the United States and the Netherlands. The majority lands in Miami — one of the world’s most important distribution hubs —, where LAN CARGO owns the largest cold-storage warehouse operated by a foreign air carrier at an airport in the US.

Eighty percent of Colombian and Ecuadorian flowers enter the United States through Miami International Airport and, out of that total, 60% is kept in Florida while the remaining 40% is transported — mainly by truck — to other cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

“Flowers are transported during the entire year, however there are two key dates — St. Valentine’s and Mother’s Day — around which we focus all our energy and work jointly to cover the sharp increase in demand. This mean moving three times more cargo than regularly,” said Cristian Ureta, CEO of LAN CARGO.

Thanks to this effort, the 2015 St. Valentine’s operation achieved positive results. At the conclusion of the season, the company will transport 10,400 tons of flowers for Valentine’s, a 3% increase compared to 2014, when 9,104 tons were shipped.

The more than 200 million flower stems transported by LAN CARGO cover the entirety of the female population in the United States, composed of 160 million women. This means that every woman could potentially receive one of the flowers imported to the country during Valentine’s season.

Flower market in Colombia and Ecuador

Even though some Latin American countries like Peru, Costa Rica and Guatemala have their own flower production, the main producers are Colombia and Ecuador, which export more than 29,000 tons of fresh flowers to more than 90 countries, just during Valentine’s season.

Floriculture is fundamental to both countries’ economies, representing their top non-traditional agricultural export. The main varieties transported are red roses (more than 60%, with producers tripling production for this season), carnations, pompoms and chrysanthemums. In 2014, LAN CARGO and its affiliates transported a total of 121,568 tons of flowers from these two countries, jointly achieving a market share of approximately 26%.

The flower market remains active throughout the year, though demand peaks during Valentine’s season (January and February) and Mother’s Day season (April and May).
The flowers arrive at LAN CARGO’s facilities in Miami and, while rigorously maintaining the cold chain required for their transportation and preservation, they are distributed to different cities in the United States and, in smaller quantities, to Europe via Amsterdam and Australia and New Zealand via Sydney.

LATAM Airlines Group will reduce its C02 emissions by 10 thousand tons per year by changing containers

May 7, 2013

Santiago Chile, May 6th, 2013.-  LATAM Airlines Group and its affiliates announced the purchase of 3,517 ultra-light Kevlar® containers from Nordisk Aviation Products. These modern containers will replace all of those currently used in the company’s cargo operations as well as those of LAN CARGO and its affiliates, MasAir, LAN CARGO Colombia and TAM Cargo.

These air containers make it possible to transport large cargo volumes in a single unit, as well as helping to mobilize different types of cargo more rapidly, efficiently, and with greater security and control. The material used to manufacture the containers – Kevlar – has many advantageous properties, including high impact resistance and excellent stability when exposed to extreme temperatures. Kevlar® is 5 times stronger than the same amount of steel by weight, providing an ideal combination of ultra-lightness and strength.

“We are very happy with this new acquisition, as it represents a major investment being made by our companies –more than USD 9 million- that will yield savings in fuel and maintenance as well as reducing annual CO2 emissions by 10 million tons annually”, stated Fernando Poitevin, Vice-President of Operations for LAN CARGO.
The Kevlar® containers are 30% lighter than the current aluminum containers, and are made of the same material used to manufacture bulletproof vests as well as other products such as underwater cables and space vehicles, and in military applications, including the aeronautical industry.
This agreement supports the long-term commitment of LATAM Airlines Group and its affiliates to improving fuel efficiency and thus lowering our environmental impact. The new containers will be used in several aircraft models included in LATAM fleets and those of its affiliates, including the Boeing 777F-300 cargo plane, one of the most modern and efficient aircraft in the industry.


December 20, 2012

Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer has being making significant progress in developing its KC-390, a future airlifter/tanker in the C-130J-class. The KC-390 will be powered by two turbofans and is expected to take its first flight in 2014. This week Embraer announced that Astronics, based in New York, will provide a complete exterior lighting system for the type. This will include lights for navigation, anti-collision, landing, taxiing, formation and aerial refuelling. The KC-390 is expected to enter service in 2016.

Boeing and Embraer sign agreement to collaborate on KC-390 program

June 26, 2012

São Paulo, Brazil, June 26, 2012 – The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] and Embraer [NYSE: ERJ; BOVESPA: EMBR3] today announced an agreement to collaborate on the KC-390 aircraft program. Under this agreement, Boeing and Embraer will share some specific technical knowledge and evaluate markets where they may join their sales efforts for medium-lift military transport opportunities.

“Boeing has extensive experience in military transport and air refueling aircraft, as well as deep knowledge of potential markets for the KC-390, especially those which were not considered in our original marketing plan” said Luiz Carlos Aguiar, president and CEO of Embraer Defesa e Segurança. “This agreement will strengthen the KC-390’s prominent position in the global military transport market.”

The KC-390 collaboration is part of a broader agreement that Boeing and Embraer signed in April. The companies previously announced that they are exploring ways to cooperate in commercial airplane efficiency and safety, research and technology, and sustainable aviation biofuels. Boeing and Embraer will conduct a joint market assessment for the medium-lift military transport market and analyze business collaboration models. The market assessment includes potential customers that had not been considered in the initial market prospects for the KC-390.

“Embraer is a leading global innovator and we both understand the value of working in partnership to provide high-quality, affordable customer solutions,” said Dennis Muilenburg, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. “This collaboration matches Boeing’s proven excellence in military transport with Embraer’s KC-390 accomplishments to further advance this highly capable and efficient medium-lift aircraft.”

The KC-390 is a Brazilian Air Force project for which Embraer signed the development contract in April 2009. It is the biggest aircraft to be manufactured by the Brazilian aerospace industry and will set new standards in the medium-lift market in terms of performance, cargo capacity, flexibility, and life cycle costs.

Boeing has had a strong and enduring partnership with Brazil for 80 years, delivering the first F4B-4 fighters to the Brazilian government in 1932 and providing commercial airplanes to Brazilian airlines since 1960. Boeing opened its office in São Paulo in October 2011.

A330-200 Freighter receives Type Certification from EASA

April 18, 2010

Aircraft’s payload capability of 70 tonnes is one tonne greater than expected

The A330-200F has been granted Type Certification today by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) following a successful 200-hour flight-test campaign. The trials were performed by two aircraft, covering both engine types on offer: the Pratt and Whitney PW4000 and the Rolls-Royce Trent 700.

This dedicated freighter aircraft, which is a derivative of the A330-200 passenger model, has been certified through an amendment to the existing A330-200 EASA Type Certificate granted to Airbus in 1998. This EASA award will be followed by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Type Certification.

Speaking at the signing ceremony in Toulouse, Christian Favre, A330/340 Chief Engineer said: “After a very smooth and successful flight test campaign we have reached certification in line with our planning. Moreover, thanks to some design optimisation, the aircraft’s payload capability of 70 tonnes is one tonne more than first expected.”

He added: “With the freighter market already showing signs of recovery, rising by 20 per cent so far this year, we now have a great new aircraft to offer customers,” he concluded.

The A330-200F features an optimised fuselage cross-section, offering flexibility to carry a wide variety of pallet and container sizes. The aircraft offers 30 per cent more volume than any freighter in its class, and is based on the proven and technologically-advanced A330 platform, for which Airbus has over 1,000 orders and already more than 650 aircraft in service.

Over 3,400 freighters will be needed in the next 20 years to cater for a 5.2 percent average annual growth rate. This will include around 1,600 mid-sized freighters, of which the A330-200F will play an important role.

First Boeing 747-8 Freighter Leaves Paint Hangar

November 22, 2009

EVERETT, Wash., Nov. 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Boeing (NYSE: BA) moved the first 747-8 Freighter out of the paint hangar in Everett, Wash., Tuesday night sporting a special “light” livery.

Painted white with blue accents, the 747-8 Freighter unveiled a new twist on the Boeing Commercial Airplanes livery. It features an oversized “8” on the background of the tail as well as “747-8” on the belly.

The light livery, which saves time and expense compared to the full Boeing livery, will remain on the airplane until the flight-test program is completed. After flight test, it will be refurbished and delivered to a customer.

The first freighter will begin preparing for the necessary tests leading up to first flight in early 2010.

First Boeing 747-8 Freighter Leaves Factory

November 13, 2009

The airplane begins preparations for flight test

EVERETT, Wash., Nov. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Boeing (NYSE: BA), on Thursday afternoon, towed the first 747-8 Freighter out of the factory in Everett, Wash. The airplane, ultimately destined for Cargolux, will be painted and begin preparations for flight test.

“It is very rewarding to see this airplane transition to the flight test phase,” said Mo Yahyavi, 747 program vice president and general manager. “Our employees, suppliers and customers have put a lot of work into making the 747-8 Freighter a reality.”

The 747-8 Freighter is the new high-capacity 747 that will give cargo operators the lowest operating costs and best economics of any freighter airplane while providing enhanced environmental performance. It is 250 feet, 2 inches (76.3 m) long, which is 18 feet and 4 inches (5.6 m) longer than the 747-400 Freighter. The stretch provides customers with 16 percent more revenue cargo volume compared to its predecessor. That translates to four additional main-deck pallets and three additional lower-hold pallets.

Boeing has secured 105 orders for the 747-8, 78 of which are orders for the new freighter. Cargolux, Nippon Cargo Airlines, AirBridgeCargo Airlines, Atlas Air, Cathay Pacific, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, Emirates SkyCargo, Guggenheim and Korean Air all have placed orders for the 747-8 Freighter.

New A330-200 Freighter takes to the skies

November 5, 2009

A330-200F: Allowing freight operators to adapt to evolving markets

The new dedicated Freighter variant of the successful A330 Family took to the skies today during a four hour maiden flight over Toulouse. This milestone marks the start of a 180 hour flight-test and certification campaign, and paves the way for first delivery of the type to launch operator, Etihad Crystal Cargo, in the summer of 2010.

The new A330-200F will offer freight customers greater range and a higher maximum payload with much lower unit costs compared with its closest competitor. The aircraft has already gained 67 firm orders with nine customers. In addition to these orders, the aircraft has been selected by a tenth customer — Turkish Airlines — following the recent signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for two A330-200Fs. Furthermore, there are other ongoing campaigns in progress where airlines are showing serious interest in the aircraft.

Airbus Chief Operating Officer – Customers, John Leahy said: “The efficient A330-200F is very well adapted to today’s market dynamics of rising fuel prices and increased pressure on yields.” He adds: “The A330-200F is the right aircraft at the right time. We are at the eve of a market recovery, and now is the time for airlines to prepare for future freight growth.”

Airbus sees the need for over 3,400 freighters in the next 20 years to cater for a 5.2% average annual growth rate. In turn, this will require around 1,600 mid-sized freighters, of which the A330-200F will play an important role.

With a greater payload than initially anticipated, the A330-200F offers two operational configurations depending on the planned mission. The aircraft can carry more than 64 metric tonnes over 4,000 nautical miles / 7,400km, or more than 69 metric tonnes up to 3,200 nautical miles / 5,930km – non-stop. These range and payload capabilities will enable operators to grow their business by opening up or extending cargo routes they currently operate. Thanks to an optimized fuselage cross-section, it has the interior flexibility to carry a wide variety of pallet and container sizes for maximum interlining capability, offering 30 per cent more volume than any freighter in its class.

Compared with the highly successful passenger A330-200, this new purpose-designed Freighter version has an increased maximum-zero-fuel weight (MZFW) of eight tonnes to allow for high-density cargo configuration transportation of 10lb/ft3. In addition, the aircraft features a reinforced fuselage plus new strengthened floor with a specially designed floor-grid for higher running loads.

The A330-200F is based on the proven, highly successful and technologically-advanced A330 platform, for which Airbus has received over 1,000 orders, and to date around 625 aircraft are in operational service.

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