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Boeing Contracts MRO Provider to Convert 737s to Freighters

May 11, 2021
Citing rising demand for air-freight service in North America and Latin America, Boeing is partnering with COOPESA to establish two conversion lines in Costa Rica where passenger jets will be converted to cargo aircraft.

Boeing Co. has formed a partnership with Cooperativa Autogestionaria de Servicios Aeroindustriales (COOPESA) to establish two new conversion lines for Boeing Converted Freighter aircraft, modified versions of 737-800 jets. The financial and other terms of the partnership were not announced.

The first of the two new conversion lines will open in early 2022 in in Alajuela, Costa Rica, and the second is expected to follow there later in the year.

COOPESA is a FAA- and EASA-certified provider of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services for commercial airframes. It works with airlines and leasing companies, offering heavy maintenance, interior modifications, avionics modifications, and other services, including passenger-to-freight conversions.

The 737-800 aircraft is the midrange variant of the 737 Next Generation series, the series previous to Boeing’s 737 MAX. It is a twin-engine, narrow-body passenger aircraft with capacity for up to 189 and a range of 2,025 nautical miles.

The Boeing Converted Freighter program (BCF), was initiated in 2016 and to date the OEM has booked over 180 orders and/or commitments from 737-BCF aircraft. The conversions are performed at three locations in China.

Boeing forecasts that it will have demand for 1,500 conversions of passenger jets to freighters during the next two decades, as air-freight volumes rise. Of these, it predicts that 1,080 will be standard-body conversions, and nearly 30% of that demand will come from North America and Latin America.

“COOPESA has demonstrated the technical expertise and commitment to quality and execution necessary to help us meet the growing customer demand for the 737-800BCF, including in the Americas,” stated Boeing’s director of freighter conversions, Jens Steinhagen.

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