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The engine and aircraft valuations panel at CFS 2022.

CFS 2022: Narrowbody freighter segment nears tipping point for 737NGs


This story was originally published in Cargo Facts on Oct. 21, 2022

The major transition to the next generation of narrowbody freighters has begun as more A321-200F, A320-200F, 737-800F and 737-700F conversions enter the market.

The current narrowbody conversion backlog consists mostly of 737-800s and A321s and has created a bidding war for aircraft feedstock and conversion slots, George Dimitroff, head of valuations at Ascend, said during a panel discussion on the engine and aircraft valuations at Cargo Facts Symposium 2022 in San Diego.

Dimitroff said that the 737 Classic and 757-200 freighter fleets will peak next year before they start reducing in number as more head for retirement.

Based on analysis conducted by Ascend, the number of 737-800Fs in service will overtake 737 Classic freighters in the next couple of years as multiple conversion providers ramp up their output.

Boeing recently surpassed the triple-digit mark with its 100th 737-800BCF conversion in September.

Meanwhile, A321Fs are expected to surpass 757-200Fs by around 2031, according to Dimitroff.

Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW) has increased its conversion rate and recently made its tenth A321-200P2F redelivery in August.

Despite some very young frames going into conversion in the past couple of years, the average age of converted aircraft remains at around twenty-one years old for both narrowbody and widebody freighter types, Dimitroff said.

As it stands, more than 15% of all freighters currently in operation exceed the average retirement age of thirty-five years old, Dimitroff added.

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