SpiceXpress, SpiceJet’s cargo division, has taken delivery of its first 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter (BCF) as the India-based carrier expands its air cargo operation to better serve one of the world’s most populated regions and offer new route options.
“We are expanding the markets we currently serve, particularly in the Middle East, Hong Kong and Bangladesh and the 737-800BCF’s reliability and versatility is helping enable our strategic direction,” said Ajay Singh, chairman and managing director, SpiceJet.
The standard-body freighter, which is the first 737-800BCF to be operated in South Asia, is on lease from NGF Alpha Limited, a division of Spectre Cargo Solutions.
“It’s exciting to bring the 737-800 Freighter to India, a market we see growing in the coming years,” said Jordan Jaffe, Spectre Air Capital CEO. “We have already invested over a quarter billion dollars into our 737NG program, and are thrilled to put our continuing commitment to work serving great operators like SpiceJet. They join a growing family of customers utilizing our diverse product range of freighters.”
India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) validated the 737-800BCF’s certification, clearing the way for the freighter to serve a rapidly growing region and busy international trade hub. South Asia is home to one of the world’s largest population centers with 1.7 billion people or nearly one-quarter of the world’s total.
“SpiceJet has made bold moves to strengthen its position in one of the most dynamic and fast-growing aviation markets,” said Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president Commercial Sales and Marketing for The Boeing Company. “We are excited that SpiceJet has chosen to expand its SpiceXpress operation with the 737-800BCF. This converted freighter gives operators just the right size, operating economics and capabilities to succeed in busy domestic and regional routes.”
The 737-800BCF entered service last year and its order book has grown quickly to 120 orders and commitments. The program has ramped up production – with output set to more than double to 17 units in 2019 – to meet the customer demand.
Built on the popular and reliable Next-Generation 737 passenger airplane, the 737-800BCF offers operators lower operating cost per payload ton than older standard-body freighters. It is currently operating on four continents (Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America). The 737-800BCF carries up to 52,800 pounds (23.9 metric tons) of payload, opening new markets to operators with its long-range capability and high reliability.