ATSG bags double B737 freighter conversions for China’s Okay Airways

Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) subsidiaries have acquired two Boeing 737-400 aircraft for conversion into freighters and onward lease to China-based partner Okay Airways for its e-commerce business.
ATSG West Leasing, based in Ireland and a wholly owned ATSG subsidiary, has acquired and will lease the aircraft to Okay in late 2017 for a seven years term.
PEMCO World Air Services, a second wholly-owned ATSG subsidiary, will convert the 737-400s to freighters this summer at PEMCO’s facilities at the Tampa International Airport.
ATSG and Okay Airways, along with online retailer VIP Shop Holdings, are planning to launch a new Chinese express airline, United Star Express. However, there have been delays in obtaining approvals.
To ensure the new airline will be up and running as quickly as possible, ATSG has said it will convert two aircraft and place them with Okay Airways until United Star Express gains approval. At this time the two aircraft will be transferred from Okay over to the joint venture.
The partners were hoping to launch the new airline this year.
Brad Heath, managing director of ATSG West Leasing, said: “We are very pleased to acquire, convert and lease these aircraft into the air express market in China. This initiative leverages the core capabilities of PEMCO, ATSG West Leasing and of our strategic partners in China.”
Okay Airways will operate the aircraft in support of its express services for e-commerce and other companies in the domestic China market. ATSG, Okay Airways, and Tianjin Dongjiang Investment holdings, a Tianjin government affiliate, are establishing a joint venture company to support the growing e-commerce market there.
Mike Andrews, PEMCO’s director of conversion programs, said, “We’re excited to be working with our affiliate ATSG West Leasing Limited and to be redelivering more PEMCO-converted aircraft into the Chinese market.”
PEMCO and its affiliates continue to lead the narrow-body freighter conversion market in China through conversions of 70% of China-based 737-300 and -400 freighters in service.
Through its subsidiaries, including PEMCO and ATSG West Leasing Limited, ATSG provides aircraft leasing, air cargo lift, aircraft maintenance services, cargo conversion and airport ground services.
The 737-400 PEMCO-converted cargo aircraft features 11 pallet positions, up to 48,000 lbs (22 tonnes) of payload, and 4,600 cu ft of total volume under PEMCO’s supplemental type certificate. 

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