Our recent webinar highlighted the aircraft types driving the growth in global passenger to freighter conversions.
Image: Adam Moreira
The Boeing 737-800 passenger to freighter conversion program has exceeded our expectations in the past year. The 737-800 freighter fleet has almost doubled in size, from 59 aircraft in April 2021 to 113 aircraft in April 2022. We believe this demonstrates a sustained appeal as an aircraft for conversion, thanks to its optimal size and value. The growth in demand for the P2F 737 is illustrated by the increasing number of conversion centres, totalling 15 at the time of writing. The most recent additions to these include centres in San Jose, Costa Rica, and London Gatwick.
In addition to a thriving fleet, values are also performing well overall. Freighter aircraft values data from IBA Insight indicates that the market values of most freighter types have remained stable with only a slight drop, especially in younger model aircraft. Looking at this through the lens of the 737, the value of a 2006 build Boeing 737-800BCF has fallen by just 3.7% to US$21.23 million.
The Boeing 757-200P2F remains the stalwart of the market, with a total of 259 aircraft in service as of April 2022. The period from April 2021 to 2022 saw the highest number of 757 conversions since 2018, with 13 aircraft converted in 2021 alone. This is notably impressive given the now limited feedstock for the type.
The Boeing 767-300 freighter fleet has continued to grow from 127 to 156, driven by the plentiful availability of feedstock aircraft from retiring passenger fleets. The 28 aircraft converted in 2021 made this the best year for the type since 2018.
Annual conversion rates for the Airbus A330-200 and 300 remain steady, with a backlog developing across the A330ceo family. The total fleet size of A330ceo P2F aircraft increased from 10 to 16 aircraft between April 2021-2022.
Despite their much smaller baseline numbers, fleet data from IBA Insight demonstrates a clear growth in Airbus A321 converted freighter fleets. The A321 freighter fleet has doubled from four to eight aircraft over the past year, and we anticipate annual conversions will continue to rise.
We are excited about the addition of the Airbus A350F and Boeing 777-8F to the market, and the competition these types will bring.
Our initial view on the new purpose-built widebody freighter types is that both will command a considerable premium on the existing in production Boeing 777F, which is valued at US$157 million. We estimate that a new Airbus A350F (with its cargo capacity of 109 tonnes) will have a value of US$172 million. The marginally higher 112 tonne capacity Boeing 777-8F will have a value of US$187 million.
IBA Insight flexibly illustrates multiple asset, fleet and market positions, actual and potential, to inform client choices and identify acquisition opportunities. Immediate access to crucial aircraft, engine, lease rate and fleet data eases appreciation of historic and future aircraft concentrations and operator profiles.
Using a combination of data sources together with IBA's own research and insights from our aviation intelligence platform, we have identified four key trends that will define the performance of the air freight market in 2022.