Europe’s 737-800 freighter fleet grows

Europe’s 737-800 freighter fleet grows

Caption: Europe’s 737-800 freighter fleet grows

ASL Airlines France placed its first 737-800BCF (33641, ex-Pegasus) into commercial revenue service Dec. 9, following redelivery to the French airline’s parent, ASL Aviation Holdings, on Nov. 27.

The Boeing-converted freighter is the first of ten 737-800BCF conversions for ASL as part of a 2019 order, and the start of a boost to Western Europe’s 737-800 freighter fleet that is to come.

ASL has three more 737-800s at various stages of conversion at the Taikoo (Shandong) Aircraft Engineering Company Ltd. (STAECO) facility where the first aircraft was converted, according to a press release from ASL Group. Unit 33641 took less than four months from the date of arrival in Jinan to convert and redeliver — these additional freighters are not far behind.

Based at Paris (CDG), 33641 is currently operating routes between the French capital city and Marseille (MRS). ASL declined to disclose the identity of the customer for the flights, though we note there are currently just two known customers leasing 737-800BCF capacity in Western Europe: Amazon and FedEx.

ASL Airlines Belgium, an affiliate carrier, operates two 737-800BCFs on an ACMI basis for FedEx while ASL Airlines Ireland operates two on a CMI basis for Amazon. The four units were converted by GECAS and are leased to ASL Airlines and Amazon, respectively.

Sweden-headquartered West Atlantic Group also leases four 737-800BCFs from GECAS. The aircraft were redelivered in 2018 and 2019, and initially operated under West Atlantic’s U.K.-based AOC. Ahead of Brexit, West Atlantic began transferring the 737-800s to its Swedish AOC. Three are currently flying on the company’s Swedish AOC, while one remains at West Atlantic U.K. West Atlantic announced it had found a customer for the four 737-800BCFs in March 2018. The customer was later revealed to be FedEx when a West Atlantic 737-800BCF (32615) surfaced in FedEx livery.

Beyond the firm order for ten 737-800BCFs, ASL has options for ten additional conversion slots with Boeing.