FAA approves AEI 737-800 freighter conversion

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Aeronautical Engineers (AEI) has received FAA Supplemental Type Certificate for the Boeing 737-800 passenger-to-freighter conversion, having been delayed by the partial government shutdown.

The prototype, MSN 29121 was completed in December, and offers a payload of 23.9 tonnes with the capacity of 11 88”x125” container positions, plus an additional position for an AEP/AEH.

The conversion incorporates a reinforced floor structure, a 86”x137” main cargo door with a single vent door system, and a flexible Ancra Cargo Loading System, a rigid 9g barrier, up to five supernumerary seats, a galley and toilet.

Robert Convey, senior vice president sales and marketing says: “We believe the AEI B737-800SF will become the industry’s standard narrowbody freighter for the next 40 plus years. When compared to the B737-400SF, the B737-800SF has better fuel burn characteristics combined with a substantial increase in payload capability which will provide operators with improved operating economics.”

Convey says AEI is experiencing significant demand for the 737-400SF, and he expects the 737-800 to be popular as feedstock prices drop and availability increases.

He says: “But having already secured 111 firm orders and commitments for the B737-800SF, we believe this program will far exceed the success we have had with the B737-400SF programme.”

AEI forecasts that 750 737-800s will be converted over the next 40 years, with AEI carrying out over 400 of the conversions.