February 18, 2021 – Sequoia Aircraft Conversions, a B777 passenger to freighter conversion company, announces its engagement with Split Rock Aviation to bring the B777-300ER converted freighter to market. The program will be based in Wichita, Kansas, long recognized as a center of excellence in aerospace manufacturing and engineering.
Airfreight is forecast by Boeing to grow by over 4 percent annually over the next 20 years. Additionally, an already robust e-commerce business has accelerated during the pandemic and airline interest in re-purposing parked passenger planes has only heightened the cargo industry interest in conversions. These factors combine to a forecasted demand for over 3000 freighter deliveries in the next 20 years, more than half of which will be passenger to freighter conversions.
The opportunity to extend the useful-life of an airplane investment is particularly appealing to asset owners. The B777-300ER is one of the most successful wide-body single source engine programs in aviation history with over 800 manufactured to date. Originally delivered in 2004, the B777-300ER is now entering the optimal window for a passenger to freighter conversion, extending the life of the asset by another 15-20 years. With a customer base of more than 50 airlines and with almost 40% of the fleet held by operating lessors, the B777-300ER is a very popular aircraft with a footprint of global familiarity.
The potential growth with the B777-300ER converted freighter in the 90 metric ton market is ideally suited to replace aging three engine MD-10/11 and slightly larger four engine B747-200/400 cargo aircraft. The B777-300ER conversion market could easily exceed 300 conversions.
The B777-300ER converted freighter will carry more cargo and consume less fuel per package than even the highly successful B777-200 Factory built freighter. Sequoia’s Wichita based B777-300ER freighter conversion program will focus on weight reductions and design efficiency to meet the most stringent environmental and regulatory requirements. The engineering package will be completed by Wichita State University - National Institute of Aviation Research.
“We have been working closely with the Wichita aviation community and NIAR to assemble a world-class team and product,” said David Dotzenroth CEO of Sequoia Aircraft Conversions. “We are delighted to have Split Rock Aviation join our team.”
“We believe the freighter converted B777-300ER is a great aircraft that has unbeatable economics for express operators. The challenging secondary market for passenger aircraft combined with the B777-300ER’s strong performance as a freighter will position Sequoia’s conversion program as an optimal path to achieve the best economic outcome” added Andy Mansell, a Partner at Split Rock Aviation.