AEI nabs deal to convert three MD-88SFs for USA Jet

AEI has signed a contract to convert three MD-88SFs for cargo airline USA Jet, with option for three more conversions of the same jet type.

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One of AEI’s B737-400SF conversions

Aeronautical Engineers, Inc. (AEI) has signed a contract to provide Michigan-based regional carrier USA Jet Airlines with three AEI MD-88SF freighter conversions, with further option to convert three more of the same aircraft type.

The conversions are part of a significant expansion in domestic air capacity that the airline’s parent company Ascent Global Logistics is investing in over a multiyear period.

The MD-88SF freighter conversion features additional pallet positions and greater payload capability and will provide USA JET with an Ancra cargo loading system (CLS) capable of carrying (12) 88” x 108” containers/pallets, P1 to P12.

The first MD-88 (MSN TBD) will commence modification in March 2021, followed by the second and third aircraft in May and August, respectively. Touch labor and maintenance requirements for all modifications will be performed at Commercial Jet’s Dothan, Alabama facility, which is an authorised AEI Conversion Center.

AEI has been busy with conversions for narrowbody freighters as of late. It recently struck deals with aircraft lessor Macquarie Finance for four B737-800SF conversions and Honolulu-based carrier Transair for a B737-400SF conversion. The company is on track to convert 36+ narrowbody freighters in 2021 and 45+ in 2022, Bob Convey, senior vice president of sales & marketing of AEI, told Payload Asia.

AEI is working on conversions for different models at its facilities, including CRJ200SF, MD80SF, B737-300SF, B737-400SF and B737-800SF, with conversion costs ranging from $1.9 to $3.8 million depending on the aircraft type.

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