SHANGHAI, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Boeing Co said it was planning to deliver its first tranche of revamped old passenger jets to be used as freight haulers in China by the end of the year, amid a boom in e-commerce that is driving China’s parcel delivery market.
Boeing will have the revamped versions of the popular 737-800 passenger jet ready for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2017, Anbessie Yitbarek, Boeing’s vice president of customer support for Asia Pacific told the official Xinhua news agency.
“In emerging markets, led by China, we’ve seen huge demand for freighters from e-commerce and express delivery entities,” Yitbarek said, adding China made up half of all orders. “China has the strongest demand for standard-body freighters.”
A company spokesman confirmed the accuracy of the comments about the Boeing converted freighter (BCF) programme.
“Boeing has received up to 60 orders and commitments for the 737-800BCF. We are on schedule to re-deliver the first 737-800BCF in the fourth quarter of 2017,” he said in emailed comments to Reuters on Thursday.
The conversions will be done at Boeing Shanghai Aviation Services and Taikoo (Shandong) Aircraft Engineering (STAECO), Xinhua said.
Boeing sells three types of dedicated freighters from the mid-sized 767 up to the larger 777 and the 747-8 jumbo. It also offers passenger-to-freight conversions of its mid-sized 767.
Last year, the planemaker estimated demand for 1,440 converted freighters and 930 new ones over two decades. (Reporting by Adam Jourdan and Brenda Goh; Editing by Himani Sarkar)