FREIGHTER CONVERSION SUPPLEMENT~ Boeing looking at freighter conversion of popular 777

In a move that will likely surprise many in the air cargo industry, Boeing Corp says it is

In response to queries from Payload Asia, Boeing said that two unspecified airlines and a lessor have recently inquired about Boeing’s intention to convert 777passenger airplanes into freighters.

Although Boeing’s VP for Freighter Conversions, Dennis Floyd, stressed that no decision had as yet been made on whether to convert early 777s into freighters, “it is likely such an airplane could enter into service in the first half of the next decade.”

Typically freighter conversions become viable for wide-body aircraft at about 15-20 years after the passenger version has been in service, but delivery of 777s began only 11 years ago.

Floyd said Boeing was gratified to see“early interest” in a passenger to freighter conversion of the 777 family of airplanes,saying it was testament to the widespread popularity of the aircraft.

“Ultimately it is market demand, and the availability of passenger airplanes at the right price, that drives the timing of when Boeing offers a conversion program to its customers,” Floyd said.

Working with the interested parties, the US airframe manufacturer developed a preliminary concept for a possible 777BCF (Boeing Converted Freighter) which recently passed Gate 2 in the product development process, according to the spokesperson.