The US-based Boeing Company has announced that it would set up a manufacturing unit in India to convert old 737 passenger planes into air freighters in order to penetrate into local and global demand for the freight service. The aircraft manufacturer stated that it will set up the conversion facility in Hyderabad with the help of GMR Aero Technic, news agency Reuters reported. The deal came a month after Air India ordered 220 planes from Boeing which will help it to expand itself in Indian market amid global economic slowdown.
The agreement will support India's goals of becoming a major freight centre and add to Boeing's $1 billion supply chain sourcing from India, commented Boeing’s chief strategy officer Mark Allen.
Sahil Gupte, Boeing India’s president, added that there was a requirement to convert more than 1,700 passenger planes worldwide into freighters in the next 20 years with over 600 coming from Asia. "So it is only fitting that we have the capability to have a line to make those freighters here in India, not just for India, but for the region and for the world," Reuters reported Gupte as saying.
As per International Air Transport Association the global demand for cargo in January fell by about 15 per cent. The Covid-19 pandemic led to the transformation of old passenger carriers into cargos. As per analysts, due to the fall in cargo rates, aircraft lessors may cancel these conversions or they might get saddled with extra cargos.