Aeronautical Engineers (AEI) and Merx Aviation has signed a contract for an AEI B737-800SF freighter conversion. The aircraft bearing manufacturer’s serial number 35131, owned by a fund managed by affiliates of Apollo and serviced by Merx, has just commenced modification, and is scheduled to redeliver in August. An end customer has not yet been announced. All touch labour for the conversion and maintenance requirements will be accomplished by the authorised AEI Conversion Center, KF Aero in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.Gary Rothschild, CEO of Merx and head of aviation finance at Apollo, said: “We are pleased to have entered into this transaction with AEI and to add the 737-800SF, a mainstay of the global cargo fleet, to our portfolio. The type’s capacity, performance and versatility are well suited to a wide variety of operators around the world. We are pleased to be able to offer this aircraft to customers and look forward to continuing our relationship with AEI.” While Merx owns and manages approximately forty-five 737NG aircraft, this order represents its first AEI B737-800SF freighter conversion. AEI is currently the only conversion company to have ETOPS 180 approval on the 737-800 freighter conversion. Additionally, AEI can convert all 737-800 line number aircraft, including those with Split Scimitar winglets. The AEI converted B737-800SF freighter offers a main deck payload of up to 52,700 lbs. (23,904 kg) and incorporates eleven full height 88” x 125” container positions, plus an additional position for an AEP/AEH. The conversion also incorporates new floor beams aft of the wing box, a large 86” x 137” Main Cargo Door with a single vent door system. AEI’s forward-thinking design allows for containers to be loaded into the aircraft a full 16.5” aft of the forward door jamb, ensuring ground operators have sufficient maneuvering room which minimizes potential door and aircraft strikes. Additionally, the AEI B737-800SF includes a flexible Ancra Cargo Loading System, a rigid 9g barrier, five supernumerary seats as standard, a galley, and full lavatory.