AEI to convert 737s for African all-cargo carrier

Inside of a cargo plane - the hold

Allied Air in Nigeria will nearly double its fleet size with the addition of up to four Boeing 737-800 converted freighters.

Aeronautical Engineers Inc. (AEI) of Miami, Florida, announced on March 2 that Allied Air has ordered two passenger-to-freighter conversions with options for two other jobs. The work will be performed by Miami-based Commercial Jet, a maintenance, repair and overhaul provider and one of AEI’s authorized conversion centers.

AEI, which has converted more than 500 airplanes,  builds the conversion kits and does the engineering and marketing.

It said the 737-800 freighter will be the youngest of its kind converted to date. Conversions list for $3.7 million, but AEI does not disclose terms of individual contracts.

Allied Air operates three B737-400 freighters modified by AEI and flies for the DHL parcel network within Africa. It also carries shipments for the Central Bank of Nigeria.

AEI spokesman Robert Convey said Allied Air bought the first passenger airplane on the secondary market and sent it to Miami. The finished product should be completed by early summer and Allied Air is in the process of sourcing its next aircraft.

The converted airplane offers a main deck payload of up to 52,700 pounds and incorporates 11 full-height container positions, plus an additional, smaller position. The conversion also incorporates new floor beams behind the wing box, a large main cargo door, and a cargo loading system. Additionally, the AEI B737-800SF includes a rigid 9g barrier to protect the cockpit area from sliding cargo, up to five extra seats, a galley and full lavatory.