Boeing has announced a new partnership with a Costa Rica-based maintenance, repair and overhaul provider (MRO) to create additional conversion capacity for the 737-800 converted freighter.
The American giant will open two 737-800BCF conversion lines with Cooperativa Autogestionaria de Servicios Aeroindustriales (Coopesa) in Alajuela.
The decision comes as express and e-commerce markets continue to drive strong demand for production and converted freighters.
The first of the new conversion lines is expected to open in early 2022, with the second anticipated later that year.
Boeing forecasts 1,500 freighter conversions will be needed over the next 20 years to meet growing demand.
Of those, 1,080 will be standard-body conversions, with nearly 30 per cent of that demand coming 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,” said Jens Steinhagen, director of Boeing freighter conversions.
“Boeing is pleased to have Coopesa join our team of MRO partners as we deliver our market-leading converted freighters to customers around the world.”
Currently, Boeing converts 737-800 passenger planes to freighters at three locations: Boeing Shanghai Aviation Services (BSAS) in Shanghai, China; Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering (Gameco) in Guangzhou, China; and Taikoo (Shandong) Aircraft Engineering (STAECO) in Jinan, China.
To date, the 737-800BCF has won more than 180 orders and commitments from 15 customers on four continents.