CFS 2022: 737-800 engines may pose challenge for freighter conversions
This story was originally published in Cargo Facts on Oct. 24, 2022
SAN DIEGO — The availability of good CFM56 engines for 737-800 conversions may be limited in the short term as the aircraft type sees an uptick in demand for passenger service.
“It’s our forecast that by 2040, about 72% of all 737NGs will be retired,” said George Dimitroff, head of valuations at Ascend by Cirium, speaking during a panel on aircraft and engine valuations at Cargo Facts Symposium 2022 in San Diego. “But we have a bit of a near-term problem because more aircraft are being returned to service in passenger use. So in the next couple of years, we have the return to service of passenger 737-800s combined with freighter conversions; all these aircraft are going to need engines with enough green time in them.”
With retirement levels of the 737-800 at their lowest point since 2019, the renewed demand from passenger operators has created a bidding war between freight converters, lessors and part-out companies seeking to market components with sufficient green time remaining, meaning some people could end up with 737-800 freighters that are more expensive than originally envisaged, according to Dimitroff.
“What does that mean for green time in the short to medium term?” Dimitroff asked. “In the next three to five years, where are we going to get green-time engines for the freighter fleet?”
Meanwhile, David Chriske, vice president and head of engine trading and leasing at CFM Materials, said that CFM is seeing more A319s, 737-600s and -700s being parted out, which could be good news for A320, A321 and 737-800 conversions.
Chriske added that he believes that there are sufficient CFM56s available to satisfy market demand and expects the engine type to have plenty of remaining green time for years to come.
There is less of a green-time issue with A320 Family conversions since there are two engine options for that aircraft type, Dimitroff said.