Aeronautical Engineers focuses on B737s

Softening cargo capacity demand has also benefited conversions of B737s, with conversion expert Aeronautical Engineers forecasting a strong 2008/09.


Aeronautical Engineers Inc. Alcoa B737 coversion David M. McDonald MRO


Two years ago when lease rates on passenger aircraft were high, the market for Boeing 737 conversions was slow. But as rates softened, Aeronautical Engineers Inc. (AEI) in Miami, Florida saw the business for conversions for this type of aircraft pick up significantly. Today the market is strong and is predicted to stay so, through the end of the second quarter 2008.

“Fuel prices clearly rocked the air cargo industry,” comments David M. McDonald, AEI vice president, Operations. “However, banking issues not withstanding, interest in conversions appears to be picking up. I expect 2009 to be a good year for our B737-300 and B737-400 conversions.”

The company received its FAA Supplemental Type Certifi cate (STC) to convert B737-400 passenger aircraft to full freighters in August 2007.

Unique position
Unlike other companies involved in aircraft conversions, the AEI conversion is unique in that it allows more useable cargo volume and greater loading flexibility due to overall its higher position weights.

“Our B737-300 is the only design that has nine full 88-inch by 125-inch positions,” says McDonald. “Other designs only have eight, 88-inch by 125- inch positions plus an LD3 (60.4-inch by 61.5-inch) position.”

Due to AEI’s door placement and interior design on the B737-300, it’s the only conversions that can fit an AAA container in the Number One position.