Vallair, the aircraft trading, leasing and specialist MRO organisation, has completed delivery of their first B737-400F passenger-to-freighter (P2F) conversion to Guangdong Longhao Aviation Group of China.
The aircraft was previously operated by Japan Transocean Airlines and was converted at Gameco in Guangzhou under a Pemco STC.
Guangdong Longhao Aviation Group operates five B737-300F under Longhao Airlines Ltd -a Chinese cargo carrier based at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN) – using its own fleet, as well as leased aircraft.
Longhao’s stated mission is to become southern China’s preferred neutral asset provider of freighter aircraft capacity. Until now, the carrier has largely operated ACMI and charter flights for SF Express, but more recently has developed its own cargo sales and marketing division as it seeks to expand its business outside of just SF.
The carrier operates freight services on domestic and international sectors, including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Longhao Airlines was approved by the Civil Aviation Administration in 2016, achieving operational qualification and undertaking its maiden voyage in nine months.
Operations were launched in March 2017, with a Guangzhou-Nantong service. Since then nine cargo routes have been opened and three B737 freighters have been introduced to the fleet in the first half of 2018.
Longhao has previously stated it intends to grow both its cargo and passenger fleet by around five aircraft per year, reaching nearly 50 by 2020, the carrier also has said it plans to add B777 and A350 passenger aircraft as it grows its network throughout Southeast Asia and then further afield.
This latest aircraft is one of a number of B737 aircraft that Vallair has purchased for cargo conversion, and the first Vallair B737-400 to be converted at Gameco’s facility.
Norbert Marx, CEO of Gameco says: “Since entering our co-operation with Pemco, Vallair is our first customer for cargo conversion under the Pemco STC in Guangzhou. Our technical team has worked closely with Vallair’s cargo conversion specialists to ensure that Longhao has the optimum aircraft for their needs.
“Our chosen provider partnership with Vallair in the Asia region establishes a strong commitment to timely completions of the highest standard and the whole team of engineers and technicians at Gameco is extremely proud to deliver this great aircraft.”
Peter Koster, head of Cargo Conversions at Vallair, highlights the company’s focus on leased cargo converted assets as it follows a controlled growth strategy. “Vallair takes a long-term view with regards to its Chinese portfolio, we are carefully building a fleet of Boeing and Airbus commercial aircraft that will form the bedrock of our cargo conversion programme.”
“As these mature aircraft come to the end of their operational lease agreements we are extending the life of these assets in the most economically beneficial way through our cost-effective conversion programme,” Koster adds.
Pemco World Air Services, which designed the STC for the B737-400 conversion has extended their presence in China, adding Guangzhou to the map of conversion sites. Mike Andrews of Pemco comments: “The assignment of freighter conversions to our new partner Gameco has proven to be a valid choice. Quality and efficiency are key drivers for conversion programme and Gameco delivered excellence for Vallair via their highly skilled workforce.”
Vallair is a fast-growing aviation company headquartered in Luxembourg with facilities in Chateauroux and Montpellier in France. It provides integrated support for mature aircraft, engines and major components and is composed of six complementary business units: Trading & leasing, aircraft teardown, aircraft MRO, engines, aero-structures & painting, and cargo conversions. Vallair is a leading player in the trading and leasing of A320 family, ATR and B737 aircraft.