24 October 2014
Airwork (NZ) recently purchased six additional former Qantas Boeing 737-476 aircraft, to add to one aircraft it previously acquired, ZK-JTQ (ex VH-TJQ).
Airwork selected Aeronautical Engineers, Inc. (AEI) to convert provide Boeing 737-400SF passenger-to-freighter conversions, plus another five options. Airwork will then lease the aircraft to other customers, including Toll Freight, which operates freight services to Perth.
Toll Freight uses the Airwork Boeing 737-400SF on freight services between Melbourne and Perth. The smaller Airwork Boeing 737-300SF is used by Toll Freight on the Perth – Christmas Island – Cocos Islands – Perth route and services between Melbourne and Perth.
The first 737-476 to be converted, ZK-JTQ (formerly VH-TJQ with Qantas), was modified at Commercial Jet Services’ Dothan, Alabama facility and redelivered to Airwork on 14 August 2014. It entered service with Toll Freight on 27 August 2014. This aircraft had also operated from Perth as a passenger aircraft on lease to Alliance Airlines, before conversion to freighter configuration.
The second 737-476 has begun conversion in Dothan, Alabama, and should be completed in February 2015.
Airwork will take delivery of the next four aircraft progressively over the next six months.
The B737-400SF provides Airwork with an aircraft capable of carrying 11 pallets or containers. Although the 737-400SF could take a larger load, Airwork has chosen this configuration to give the aircraft sufficient fuel to do the westbound Australian transcontinental flights against prevailing headwinds.