Home / News / India /  Boeing eyes freighter jet conversion facility

India will get its first facility for converting Boeing 737 passenger aircraft into a freighter jets at Hyderabad by 2024.

The facility is being set up by Boeing and GMR Aero Technic. Both did not disclose financial details.

For now, the companies have started the process of technology transfer, likely to take place over the next 18 months. The two firms will decide on investments on aircraft on a per-order basis.

GMR Aero Technic is the first Boeing supplier in India that will have the capability to support future conversions of both domestic and foreign aircraft.

“There is substantial opportunity here. any specific customer orders have not been signed yet. We are in talks with airlines and startups that entered in cargo space," said Salil Gupte, president, Boeing India.

According to Boeing’s Commercial Market Outlook, India’s air cargo growth is expected to average 6.3% annually, driven by the country’s manufacturing and e-commerce sectors, including its Make in India initiative.

Boeing forecasts demand for more than 75 freighters, including converted freighters.

An aircraft is usually converted into a freighter when it is about halfway through its life. The process is initiated by a leasing or by the respective airline or, at times, by a cargo company. In India, SpiceJet, QuikJet and IndiGo among others operate cargo jets.

Gupte believes that despite a post-pandemic fall in cargo demand, there is still opportunity for freighters in India.

“Yes, there was an accelerated boom in cargo due to the pandemic. However, there are some parts of the world that will have different growth rates than others in cargo, and we believe India is a unique opportunity because of high value manufacturing," Gupte said.

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