Cargo Air places 5th 737-800SF freighter order

A Cargo Air Boeing 737 freighter takes off.
Gordon Zammit (GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2), via Wikimedia Commons

Cargo airline Cargo Air has seen its fifth Boeing 737-800SF freighter ordered from aircraft conversion company Aeronautical Engineers Inc. (AEI). The aircraft ordered is slated to undergo its conversion in June of this year.

The aircraft in question is MSN 30881, and started its life with defunct airline Air Berlin in 2002. Since that period, it has served Corendon Dutch Airlines, Xtra Airways and Russia’s Royal Flight.

The airframe was returned to lessor AerSale Inc. in March of last year, and now faces its future as a freighter aircraft.

The order

On May 15, aircraft conversion company Aeronautical Engineers Inc., announced Bulgaria-based cargo operator, Cargo Air had ordered their fifth Boeing 737-800SF through their company.

The airframe is slated to undergo the conversion process in June of this year, and all conversion related labor will be performed at the authorized AEI conversion Center, Commercial Jet located in Miami, Florida.

On the order, Cargo Air Purchase and Fleet Acquisitions Director, Angel Petrov, said:

“AEI has provided Cargo Air with sustainable freighter solutions since 2007. They have listened to our needs and collaborated with us on product innovations, many features which are not available on other B737-800 freighter conversions.”


“This is our 5th B737-800SF freighter with AEI and we will continue to rely on them for our fleet renovation in the future years to come while replacing our B737 Classic freighters with 737NG freighters.”

The aircraft will, after the conversion process, feature AEI’s forward-thinking design, allowing for containers to be loaded into the aircraft a full 16.5” aft of the forward door jamb, ensuring ground operators have sufficient maneuvering room which minimizes potential door and aircraft strikes.

The airframe will also include a flexible Ancra Cargo Loading System, five supernumerary seats as standard, a galley, a full lavatory and a rigid 9g barrier.

Airframe details

As mentioned previously, the airframe to be converted has a broad operator history, tracking back to five different operators. The airframe was delivered new in 2002 to the now-defunct German airline, Air Berlin, before it was transferred to Russia’s Orenair.

Roughly three years later, the aircraft became operative with Corendon Dutch Airlines for just seven months, before it then moved to Xtra Airways in 2016.

With Xtra Airways, the aircraft served as U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s rally airplane. The aircraft was also leased by Norwegian Air Shuttle during its time in Xtra Airways.

The airframe operated its last flights as a passenger aircraft with Russian carrier Royal Flight, and was ferried back to lessor AerSale Inc. in March of last year because of sanctions due to the war in Ukraine.

Cargo Air and AEI

Cargo Air is a cargo airline based in Bulgaria with a fleet of Boeing 737 freighter aircraft. The company features Boeing 737-300SF, 737-400SF and Boeing 737-800SF aircraft, totalling 14 aircraft as of March 2023, according to data.

Of the types, the company operates three Boeing 737-300s, seven Boeing 737-400s and four Boeing 737-800s. However, this is soon to become five with the latest order placed with AEI.

The company has their registered headquarters in Sofia, Bulgaria (SOF/LBSF), but operates through their main hub of Leipzig (LEJ/EDDP) to European destinations.

By Adrian Olstad 4 Min Read
4 Min Read
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