Ethiopian Cargo takes delivery of its first B737 freighter

Ethiopian Cargo B737-800SF

Africa’s Ethiopian Cargo has taken delivery of its first B737-800 freighter, with a payload capacity of more than 23 tonnes.

GECAS delivered Aeronautical Engineers Inc (AEI)’s inaugural passenger-to-freighter converted B737-800 to the national flag carrier of Ethiopia.

Completing the conversion of the prototype aircraft in December, and AEI) has now received the supplemental type certification (STC) from the US Federal Aviation Administration for their 737-800SF.

Ethiopian Airlines Group chief executive Tewolde GebreMariam, remarked: “The arrival of this new freighter is a significant addition and propels both our capacity and frequency. The B737-800 freighter will give us a new capability to serve short haul destinations in African and the Middle East more economically which includes the export of Ethiopian meat, fruits and vegetables to the Gulf Region.”

The freighter carrier has grown rapidly over the last decade: its freighter fleet has evolved from two leased MD-11Fs to an inventory of eight new Boeing 777 freighters – with more to come.

Said a spokesperson: “By 2025, Ethiopian Cargo & Logistics Services envisions to become a full-fledged profit center of Ethiopian Airlines Group with annual revenue of $2bn, 19 dedicated aircraft, annual tonnage of 820,000, and 57 international destinations.”

GECAS Cargo’ SVP and manager, Richard Greener, said: “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.” 

“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.”

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 B737-800 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

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