JINAN, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing signed an agreement with Taikoo (Shandong) Aircraft Engineering Co., Ltd. (STAECO) Wednesday, naming the latter a conversion service provider for the Next-Generation 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter (BCF).
The Jinan-based maintenance, repair and overhaul company joins Boeing Shanghai Aviation Services in providing conversion services for the program, which Boeing launched in February to convert passenger planes into freighters. Together, the two will operate three conversion lines.
"STAECO has a strong technical work force that is very good at overcoming tough tasks. We have enjoyed long-term cooperation with Boeing, and our Boeing aircraft-related work accounts for over 80 percent of our business," said Huang Enfang, chairman of STAECO.
The 737-800 is the first Next-Generation 737 Boeing has offered for conversion. Since the program's inception, Boeing has secured up to 60 orders and commitments from customers worldwide. The first 737-800BCF is on schedule to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2017.
China is forecast to be among the fastest growing markets for air cargo, in large part due to a rise in e-commerce. Through the Next-Generation 737-800 BCF program, Boeing seeks not only to meet market demand, but also to offer customers a new solution to maintain the value of their aircraft assets.
"The Next-Generation 737BCF program helps 737 customers extend the economic life of the airplane and increase the residual value of the aircraft," said John Bruns, president of Boeing China, adding that he hopes cooperation with STAECO will also support the development of the aviation industry in Shandong Province.