Russia’s S7 Airlines has signed a leasing contract with GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) for two Boeing 737-800BCF (Boeing Converted Freighter) aircraft. The first delivery is scheduled for November 2020. The second aircraft is expected to join the fleet of Russia’s largest privately-owned airline in January 2021. These will be the first dedicated freight aircraft in S7 Airlines’ fleet, the airline said in a statement. The aircraft will serve medium and short-haul routes for S7.
According to the airline’s estimate, operation of these aircraft will boost its cargo capacity by 30 per cent. In the first half of 2020 S7 Airlines ranked fourth in Russia by freight volumes. It transported 28,300 tons of cargo in the period, exceeding its first half of 2019 results by 70.6 per cent. S7 Cargo, general agent for cargo operations sales of S7 Group, will manage freight services. This division of the S7 Group currently provides customs clearance and cargo processing utilizing belly capacity on S7 Airlines’ passenger planes.
“The delivery of our first freighters is a significant milestone in S7 Airlines’ cargo operations”, comments Ilya Yaroslavtsev, CEO of S7 Cargo. “The additional capacity will be used on routes with strong demand and limited capacity of baggage compartments of passenger aircraft.”
“We are delighted to support S7 Airlines in the launch of their new dedicated cargo programme,” said Richard Greener, SVP and Manager of GECAS Cargo. “The 737-800NG freighter is renowned for its efficiency and reliability, as well as its lower operational costs and better environmental credentials, making it a strong addition to a combination carrier entering the cargo market.”
While extending the useful life of the passenger 737-800NG, the 737-800BCF carries more payload – up to 23.9 tonnes (52,800 lbs) – and has longer range – 2,000 nmi (3,750 km) than other standard-body freighters. The 737-800BCF freighter also offers operators newer technology, lower fuel consumption and better reliability than standard-body freighters, says GECAS.
Whilst demand for freight transportation continues to rise across the globe driven by the need to carry medical supplies and by e-commerce spurred by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the radical decrease of airliner belly capacity has created a shortage of freight capacities. S7 Airlines was engaged in transporting medical cargo in April and May this year.
”S7 Airlines’ wide route map, our partnership with leading logistics companies and well-developed agent network enable us to carry payload and mail in relatively short time and provide efficient aircraft lading. Thanks to the new freighters, we expect to increase total volume of carried payload and mail by 30 per cent,” Yaroslavtsev says.
Russia’s first and so far only operator of 737-800BCF is Atran Airlines, part of Volga-Dnepr Group. It flies two aircraft of the type, leased from GECAS as well.
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