Aeronautical Engineers is formally launching a freighter conversion program for MD-80 passenger aircraft, saying the aircraft’s declining value now makes it a likely candidate to move into all-cargo service.
The Miami-based company says the plane “will be converted in large numbers in years to come.”
AEI is launching the conversion without a named customer for the plane, however, and says it will fund the first conversion entirely on its own, including the purchase of the first plane to create a prototype.
The company, which has converted 727 and 737 Boeing aircraft, decided to launch the conversion “based on the low asset-value” of the plane.
AEI Vice President of Sales and Marketing Robert T. Convey says that after converting 225 Boeing 727s to freighters over 20 years, the company is “confident that the MD-80 will follow this conversion pattern simply due to the low asset and conversion cost.”
Built on the design of DC-9 aircraft manufactured by McDonnell Douglas, the MD-80 converted freighter will have capacity for 47,000 pounds in a configuration holding 12 containers or eight standard pallets.
Delta Air Lines and American Airlines are among the major operators of MD-80 passenger aircraft.