Chicago. 12 March 2019. GECAS has delivered AEI’s inaugural passenger-to-freighter converted 737-800 to Ethiopian Airlines, national flag carrier of Ethiopia. Completing the conversion of the prototype aircraft in December, Aeronautical Engineers Inc (AEI) has now received the supplemental type certification (STC) from the US Federal Aviation Administration for their 737-800SF.

“We congratulate the AEI team in obtaining the FAA STC approval for the converted 737-800SF and honored to supply this inaugural aircraft to Ethiopian Airlines,” said GECAS Cargo’ SVP and manager, Richard Greener. “This conversion program is a key component to our ability to give customers’ choice and meet the growing needs in the expanding air cargo markets. The collaboration between GECAS and AEI has yielded additional capacity and efficiencies afforded by the Next Generation aircraft and will deliver a significant benefit to freighter operators.”

“At Ethiopian, we are excited for this new advancement in air freighters.” said Fitsum Abady, Managing Director of Ethiopian Cargo and Logistics services. He added, “The new arrival in our fleet will further enhance our short haul services in Arica and the Middle East.”

In 2015, GECAS became the conversion program launch customer of both AEI and Boeing, providing the prototype aircraft to each. In April 2018, Boeing delivered their first converted 737-800 to GECAS customer West Atlantic. To date, GECAS has announced plans to convert at least fifty 737-800 passenger aircraft to freighters.

The converted 737-800SF carries more payload – up to 23.9 tonnes (52,800 lbs) – and has longer range – 2,000 nmi (3,750 km) than other standard-body freighters – providing capability to open new markets. The 737-800SF also offers operators newer technology, lower fuel consumption and better reliability than standard-body freighters and is primarily designed to carry express cargo on domestic / short haul routes.