Boeing backtracks on plans to enter 777-300ER P2F Conversions

By Scott Hamilton

Concept of Boeing 787 freighter under study by Boeing. Credit: Leeham News.

June 18, 2023, © Leeham News: Boeing shelved its own plans to develop a 777-300ER freighter conversion because the costs didn’t pencil out, the CEO of Boeing Global Services (BGS) said today during a press conference in advance of the Paris Air Show.

Stephanie Pope, the CEO, said BGS, analyzed that a conversion, “but we have licensed Intellectual Property to three providers in the market today. We partner and support that. You’d love to have the economics and we decided that from a capital deployment, it was just not an area that we thought we could invest in deliver the value to our customers. There are other opportunities for us.”

Reverses previous plan

This is a reversal of an announcement made in 2018 to LNA be Stan Deal, then CEO of BCA, that BGS would develop a conversion program for the -300ER. Deal is now the CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA).

Deal said BCA’s Product Development team is studying a 787 freighter program. LNA first reported the studies in March 2022. The studies include a passenger-to-freighter conversion of the 787-8, the first and now oldest of the three-member family. Product Development is also studying a new-build freighter program for the 787-9.

We analyzed the merits later the same month.

The head of Product Development, Mike Sinnett, met with key airlines about that time to test the market. Sinnett showed a concept that included folding wings to enable the 787 to fit within the same footprint as the Boeing 767-300ERF it would replace. However, a folding wing means developing a new wing, a prospect deemed unlikely then. Deal confirmed today that folding wings are unlikely.

Future of 767F

The 787 freighter, if it goes forward, would be the successor to the 767 freighter. New emissions standards adopted in 2017 by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) will prohibit production of the 767 from 2028 because the engines don’t meet the standards. The Federal Aviation Administration indicated it will adopt the standards.

Boeing previously said it will seek an exemption to the standards. Fred Smith, the chairman and founder of FedEx, a big user of the 767-300ERF, said production of the civil freighter helps keep the production costs down on Boeing’s KC-46A, which is based on the smaller 767-200ER.

Deal acknowledged to LNA that there is a cost benefit for the tanker to keep the 767-300ERF in production. But he said Boeing seeks the exemption based on the merits of the proposed law.


65 Comments on “Boeing backtracks on plans to enter 777-300ER P2F Conversions

  1. Wasn’t it reported just the other day that any potential 787F had been canceled?

    • Yep, more changes per day than the USAF!

      That is a problem with sources that talk publicly, its the Spin of the Day.

      Jon Oswtower when you could read his material has inside sources and got a pretty accurate picture.

  2. Sounds like a company that hasn’t got a clue what it’s doing.

    Severe lack of funding is leaving its mark.

    • Bryce said ” Severe lack of funding is leaving its mark.”

      True- but that is just a symptom of the real problem

      “Severe lack of competence and major focus on ” shareholder” value ( making the executive Bone- us and pension perks ) worthwhile before bailing out. One of the features of the McDummy Welch virus still infecting the Bored of Directionless.

    • A company that will maintain 60% market share in the WB and New built Cargo Seg till the 2040s. Your nagging or tantrums will not change that. Lol

      • Lol!

        Well spoken, they criticize the world leader Boeing in the widebody market where Airbus has used all strategies but in vain.

        The A350 for example, still does not exceed the symbolic bar of 1000 sales despite a failed launch of the A350-F (Freighter) which was supposed to complete an offer for this purpose
        It was already the same with the A330-F, a total flop…
        Recall that the A350-XWB was launched in 2005-2006. That is to say more than 18 years (Eighteen Years!)
        Then dictate what Boeing should or shouldn’t do. Lol !
        But do not even look at the case of Airbus in difficulty. Strange isn’t it ?

        Boeing has the most relevant widebody passenger and freighter product !

        Should we remember that the last Boeing product to have been launched was the 777-8F in January 2022 ?
        Has it been that long?

        What else should Boeing launch now if they also get a waiver to keep the 767-Fs?

        Airbus will still be surrounded in the widebody market still plagued by D. Calhoun’s spanking
        Patetic Lol!!…

        See you at PAS’23🤙

        • “The A350 for example, still does not exceed the symbolic bar of 1000 sales”

          I dunno what this has to do with the subject being discussed but, as pointed out in another thread, you’re out of touch.
          967 orders on the books as of May 31st.
          Two confirmed for Air Algerie on June 1st, ten confirmed by Airbus for an undisclosed customer last Friday, 40 to be added for the Air India order, nine for Phillipine Airlines that is currently only an MoU signed in May but is expected to be firmed up this week…..

          • I’m still trying to figger out the significance of a “symbolic bar” WRT aircraft sales.

            But hey, checkbot’s handlers have to have it say *something*, and it can’t say Boing’s making money, so..

          • Russel

            what are its hundred lines next to established facts that Boeing still has ~60% of the widebody market. You tell me that Air Algérie bought a few unfortunate A350-1000s alongside a hundred 787s (Dreamliner for RyadAir, Saudia? Seriously where were you to do the accounts? 1600 787s (Dreamliner sold + 350 777-X sold total ~ 2000 new widebody Boeing jets. What are its 967 orders of A350 next? Already even that it sold as much if not more than 777-200LR/-300ER and 777-F?

            Please, don’t Don’t waste my time with this kind of ridiculous discussion…


          • BA realized they had to write off $3.5 billion program cost after hundreds and hundreds 787 were sold and delivered? Oopsie 😬

          • Chcklist:

            I don’t see the A350 as any kind of a failure though it won’t match the 787 for sales.

            And you keep repeating failed freighter but it looks pretty successful to me and have to wonder if they had not got into a public spat with Qatar?

            No Airbus is not competing with Boeing on freighter sales but then Boeing is in the same boat on single aisle as well.

    • @Bryce

      Good comment and over the target, hence the flak received by a certain other commenter below. 🙄

      • Here’s one that hands out the good points by negating Boeing’s 60% market share in the widebody market. The “Cheerleader” attitude is an admission of lack of arguments

        THIS, is over the target🤙

      • @Airdoc

        It’s receiving double pay ($2 per comment) during the air show — hence the splurge 😏

  3. Vincent

    ..”But hey, checkbot’s handlers have to have it say *something*, and it can’t say Boing’s making money, so…”
    Ok Airbus is making money but still only holds 40% market against Boeing 60%. The situation is very pathetic for Airbus to be beaten by a so-called “ruined” company if we follow your flawed logic. I’m still flabbergasted that Boeing would spank Airbus after all this 👋👋

  4. Airbus develops the A321-XLR Frankenstein with ACTs to imitate the 757 of Boeing.

    It supposedly makes money compared to Boeing but neither wants to launch anything other than the poor-selling A350-1000 replacement nor anything other than the poor-selling -XLR .

    But Airbus wants to launch the A220-500X, it’s okay, but so as not to have to launch something new for fear of not reaching 1,000 sales, and above all to have programs that don’t even exceed 20 years (dixit #CalhounIsRight),
    the main trauma of Airbus its last 20 years (classic A340, A340-500/-600, A380, A330neo) but Airbus is making money… Wow…

  5. First, Im not suprised that BA is backpedalling on the Trip7 BCF. They cite cost as the reason. This is one of those astute decisions that is correct. I spent my career in the DAC/BCAG workforce and its clearly apparent to me that there is more profot to be made in lice sing the engineering to those woth far lower cost structures. So, my question to all of you is why is this bad, and why are you bashing the company for choosing the correct path. Converted Trip7s will be made, profitably, in locations where the labor and tax situations allow it to happen…. BA will be paid for its engineering data, and thats not an inconsiderable sum. The money in manufacturing aircraft is in new aircraft builds where the barriers to entry allow you to maintain decent margins. Historically, thats worked well when a dedicated workforce populated with airplane guys did the job. The reason in my mind why Boeing AND Airbus have lost their way has less to do with senior management than it has to do woth the loss of airplane guys. At Boeing, airplane guys backstopped the product, they had the skills gained being hands on people that lived airplanes. There were never a lot of them, but they were the glue that held the assembly line together and were the canarys in tje coal mine, so to speak. Likewise Engimeering airplane guys, a rare bird, did the same on the design and cert side. I have no doubt in my mind that if an airplane guy was in the room when MCAS was concieved it would have happened in a sage and sane manner because an aitplane guy would have never allowed it to happen tha way it did. Airbus has the same problem because the world thinks large aircraft manufactureis just like building toasters and book learning will prepare you to be a world leader. If you want a scary thought, imagine where the chinese would be if they had 200 airplane guys inside their programs.

      • Scott C:

        Good info and my same thoughts but never in the industry so just logic to support it.

        And don’t discount the parts and repair cost as a revenue stream.

        I know of one case where an MD-11 had number 2 slide out damaged and a mechanic was sent down to work with Boeing on a new one. Said mechanic was a metal whiz and Boeing had the drawings and materials and shop to do it and they buzzed it out in under a week.

    • ‘If you want a scary thought, imagine where the chinese would be if they had 200 airplane guys inside their programs.’

      200 guys like you. Is that all it takes?

      • Well one guy in the right place. A line worker just knows what is in front of them and that would be useless.

    • I can understand Boeing deciding at this time its capital is best spent on different projects than getting into the P2F business, although it seems that the design work has been done. Maybe an indication of the tough competition ahead in the large widebody freighter market with the 777XF and A350F coming out soon.
      What doesnt make sense is the capital going into the Global services business which has ambitious revenue targets for what is a commodity business of maintenance and overhaul. Boeing already has its stake in the airframe IP of maintenance systems and software [which cant be replaced by someone else]. Spares themselves can mostly come from suppliers but their value can come from the value added by Boeing design to aviation standards. In the overhaul of engines they form a separate class and the manufacturer has grown from design-build-supply only to include payment by the hour including maintenance.
      is Boeing trying to copy the engine makers by going down the path of a “flyBnB” model where they can offer airframe maintence by the hour as well as the airframe flight hours .

      • The design work on the 777 P2F has not occured at anything other than a high level….. Each different feedstock airframe will need a specific set of engineering to do the conversion. While the door may be basic and stable design, the fuselage panel assemblys are all customer unique in support of different passenger entertainment wiring, stow bins and cabin sidewall mounts. Same for all the floor beams. Because of that, a lot of work needs to be done each airplane…. This is not as simple as you think and is why a licensing deal for the engineering is so profitabke. You sell it for each line number….

    • Boeing has made so many bad decisions over the past decade or so that a good one is barely recognisable as such!

      It’s interesting that you think Airbus has lost their way. That Boeing has seems beyond doubt; they’ve been barely able to deliver anything in recent years according to plan. Airbus has had problems too – supply chain issues in A350, for example. However, there is most certainly a vast gulf between where Airbus are, and where Boeing are. Airbus’s quality of delivery – a truly important metric when it comes to winning orders next time round – is pretty good. Boeing’s has been poor, and with MAX / MCAS fatally so. 787 has been patchy – especially recently – and 777X can’t even get off the ground. If airlines finally lose patience and cancel their orders for 777X, Boeing becomes a 2 airplane company, one of which has no future (737) and the other which is (overall) not going to earn them any profit (787).

      Boeing also comes in for a lot of well deserved criticism for its product strategy, with even Leeham News questioning the wisdom of it. Boeing hasn’t got a product strategy. You mention the Chinese, and where would they be if they had “200 airplane guys” inside their programs. Well, they’re slowly maturing those 200 folk, and they will bight the back end out of Boeing’s product line up. Airbus, which can more reliably stand up a new aircraft design (well, at least A350 went very well) than Boeing, is in a better placed to react to the Rise of China. Many would say that Boeing need to develop aircraft simply to get used to developing aircraft again so that they can do so reliably when it really comes to matter. But they’re not doing that. They’re not “match fit”.

      Boeing has recently had a very lucky escape, though few realise it. Mitsubishi decided to get into the small airliner business, chose a product size that was never going to sell well, developed the MSJ (which was looking pretty good, from a technical point of view), and junked it as a probable sales dud.

      Now, had Mitsubishi had more ambition, developed something to take on the 737 / A320 sized sector, there’s a good chance that they’d have come up with something viable. It’d have been about the same amount of engineering / development resource as they put into the Space Jet. It would have been aimed at a demonstrably enormous market. Had Mitsubishi gone down this route, I think there’d have been a fair chance that they’d be picking up a lot of orders at Boeing’s / 737’s expense, and possibly Airbus’s too (their problem is long delivery times), and would have started getting them before the aircraft was even flying.

      More generally, the criticism of Boeing is that in the interests of financial self enrichment the company has been worked into a position where it is supremely vulnerable to a third competitor coming into the market place. It was once preeminent. This fall in fortunes should not have been allowed to occur. Arguably, such criticism isn’t really aimed solely at Boeing, but more at the way the entire US is doing business these days. Boeing’s problems are all related to the negative effects of the interplay of money / business / politics / regulation / power. I don’t really see how Boeing’s problems can be fully fixed, without some significant change in the US business environment. Boeing is not the only US company that has lost its way because of this unhealthy set up. Intel too is a former giant of the world that is slowly sinking into the mire. Same with the US car industry. A quick glance at all the top US companies these days are either those who manufacture abroad (e.g. Apple), or don’t make anything physical (tech companies), or have extremely fat military contracts (Lockheed).

      In comparison, the environment in which Airbus operates in Europe seems better suited to the *sustained* viability of high-tech large scale manufacturing (of course, low tech manufacturing has long since fled to China…). Regardless of what one thinks of the politics of the two blocs, the results are hard to dispute; Boeing are a former giant that has been shrinking for decades, whilst Airbus has grown over the same timeframe. Understanding all the fundamental reasons why is key, because otherwise the problem at Boeing probably cannot be fixed (or sidestepped).

      • 9Matthew.
        The Airbus A380 program was a financial bloodbath. The A400 program isnt a lot better. The Super Puma took a worldwide rounding because it couldnt keep main rotor Discs on the aircraft and we must not forget that Air India found a way to fly the 320 with its much touted and clearly superior fly byvwire system straight into the ground by flying approaches in desent hold expecting the aircraft to capture the glideslope and land safely. Yes Airbus has lost its way in both software and hardware at times. I point this out not to be argumentative nor to make comparrisons,but to illustrate how some things slip our minds…..anyhow have a great day….

        • But none of that has brought AB to the edge of a financial abyss, nor caused a whole string of lawsuits, nor caused Congressional hearings, nor caused a brain drain, nor caused severe embarassment to a regulator,…

          • Bryce, I merely reminded all that Both companys have warts and there isnt in my mind any high ground to be had. Arguing ones failures are smaller than anothers failures may geel good, but it doesnt make ones failures vanish. If you wish to discuss program failures we should discuss all of them.
            Remember, Airbus survived a whole string of lawsuits over Flight 440 as well as losing in court attempting to defend bribery charges. Make no mistake, I havent made any comparrisons of degree of off the rails, merely that both are at times terribly guilty of shit economics, shit engineering and shit ethics. How yiu wish to parse thinhs is up to yiu, but tarring BA and giving AB a pass in identical things isnt intellectually honest. And with that Id like you to back to my original post and position. AIRBUS IS DAMMNED GOOD AT WHAT THEY DO. They build outstanding products. They are also not immune from losing their way…. have a great day

        • Scott, appreciated and hopefully reciprocated.

          My overall point remains one of there being a large gulf between the two companies, evidenced by the yearly accounts as much as anything else, and not much action on Boeing’s part to narrow it.

          Airbus has had their aberrations, but I don’t think we can count the Air India crash as one of them.

          I do want to talk about the Super Puma. This most certainly was not a good episode for the company. I think it was a worse time for the responsible regulator.

          At some point in the whole affair they got to a position of requiring a gearbox inspection per flight. Whatever methodology was used, there would be errors bars associated with it. So, as seemed obvious to me, sometimes 1 flight would be too long.

          I never understood why the regulator didn’t step back and ask themselves the obvious question, “is this sensible?”, instead allowing it to continue operating. It’s a very grim example of how not to manage an aircraft defect from a regulatory point of view.

          • Matthew.
            Yes, the whole Super Puma story is frightening, and IMHO grossly mishandled. enuf said as we are both in agreement. I havent commented as you have on the relative performance of the two companies, because its pretty clear that BA has a lot of wood to chop. As you mention, the two operating environments are quite different in that Europe seems to be leading the world in sustainability initiatives. What do you think of IG Mettal and the requirement within that organisation for continuous education. Thats unheard of in US based Labor Unions and perhaps needs to be implemented here. Anyhow Id love to know your thoughts.

  6. Food for thought on another note:

    A secret highlight at the suburban Paris air field is a small plaque that most will walk over (or planes towed over) marking the arrival spot of Charles Lindbergh after completing his May 1927 Atlantic Crossing from New York. The stone marker embedded in the pavement is a juxtaposition of Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis – a glorified flying gas tank with wings, periscope and a wicker chair — and a flight line filled with aircraft (Boeing’s 777-9 and Airbus’s A321XLR, for example) capable of replicating the journey within once unthinkable speed and safety while maintaining access to your email.

    • Yea Lindbergh was nuts but he settled down and became a sane Aviator (well other than route proving flights in the Arctic with his wife who had to be nuts then as well)

      Nice couple latter in life!.

      Well he did go off on a bit of a tangent and sorted out the P-38 in the Pacific for long range missions and flew some hairy Corsair fighter bomber proving flights.

      • No one remembers the US origin of his flight
        Roosevelt Field Long Island which is now a big box retail park near Garden City/Mineola
        The prize specified New York to Paris so his course followed the coast up to St Johns Newfoundland before the over ocean hop until he found the south west coast of Ireland and across the Irish Sea and the Channel to reach Paris.
        It was almost twice the distance of the 1919 nonstop flight by Alcock and Brown who flew coast to coast from Newfoundland to Ireland

  7. The prediction (Bloomberg?) Boeing will have a dominant market share on widebodies is nothing more than hot air. Paper is free, so are outlooks, anyone can claim anything. And while just a quote by a no-know, it was sooo welcome.

    Boeing needs to boost perceptions and expectations while facing defeat on NB’s and continued problems with their WB programs 767, 777 and 787. How many in inventory? We don’t want to know.. We want to see the 777-9 make sharp turns above Le Bourget!

    On the 777-300Er BCF, it looks real good on paper. I guess for Boeing it didn’t seem a good business case to compete IAI, KANSAS and others

    • Lol ! Don’t get tired there is nothing hot in the writings of journalists.

      No perspective, just the reality that you don’t want to accept.

      After the colored pink
      glasses removed, Boeing already owns 60% of the market.
      Such is the reality of the picture drawn

      In psychology, denial comes after fear and anger…
      So be pissed off for a long time

      • Checklist LoL!! The further back you look, the better Boeing Marketshare looks. (ignore the decline). Persdonally I’m more of a Deliveries, Backlog, Cash and Development guy 🙂 LoL!

      • I agree with Kees Burger, speculation is fun stuff and sells papers and web site looks, but if they could predict, they would be in Vegas or Rolling the Dice on the stock market.

        What we know now is A350F has at least decent sales and that is far better than the failed A330-200F.

        Boeing has done surprising well with 777-8F sales.

        Granted I am perfect when I make predictions (especially if its about the past) I would not have expected the 777-8F to outsell the A350F.

        There may be can and equipment handling as part of it as it maintains the fuselage width so the cans fit and it has the 10 ft AMJ (I saw it took FedEx a long time to take advantage of that, they stayed with the 8 ft AMJ.

        So, Kudo to Boeing and a nice job to Airbus on the A350F.

  8. Wow it’s 2PM @PAS’23, and no order announced no for Airbus, nor for Boeing. I’m a little pissed off!💥

    What is happening ?

    • Perhaps you’d see more if you moved the bottle aside? 🙈

      AB has already announced orders for 13 A350s (10 Biman, 3 Air Mauritius) and a $6.5B helicopter deal with Saudi Arabia…

      Biman is currently an all-Boeing operator (apart from 4 Dash-8s).

      Also 9 A220s for Qantas.

      No order announcements yet from BA.

        • 500 A320/321neo for Indigo! The largest order ever bar none, isn’t it?

          • Whats the deposit on this order looking like ? Surely all these Airbus A320/321 orders should show on the accounts as a massive sum…

            …peers into distance …

            Airbus maybe even doing vendor finance for the pittance it gets as money up front as IndiGO ( India) makes a loss

            Wheres our self appointed aviation finance experts who can give a number for the Airbus *liabilities* for customer deposits. Even then held in a Maltese bank like Airbus used for its ‘broker payments’…cough. Not that they would be ( caught) doing that again . No siree

  9. So, to use a certain commenter’s favorite machine translator term: it appears that AB gave BA a thorough “spanking” on day 1 of the PAS.

    But, no worries: BA is still the clear winner when it comes to clocking up quarterly losses 🙈

    • Bryce

      Lol… There’s no spanking alone Calhoun gives it 👋 👋
      All year long while Airbus tries to give it in 3 days…

      You are fixed👍

  10. Bryce

    There’s no need to put the bottle down,

    your insolence will give you no more credibility on all the mistakes and horrors you’ve picked up here.

    You’re just toast. I was just waiting for confirmation from sources like Jon Ostrower or Airbus. I’m very selective about that.
    You get too hot with sake…

    • Checklist:

      Hate to see the slinging of insults. I am in your end of the spectrum on Bryce but there is a way to call him on it that is appropriate here. It also is going to get you suspended (been there).

      I think there is a balance between the two views on Boeing.

      Its not the sky is falling and its not roses either.

  11. “Deal… …said Boeing seeks the exemption based on the merits of the proposed law.”
    @Scott, would that mean the exemption guidance from the ICAO rule depending on how much it exceeds the CO2 regulatory limit? That is up to 75 units, if <2% exceedance or lower volumes if higher than that.

  12. I love Leeham has its own Cargo Operation and colors all picked out!

    How many firm and how many options?

    Note the tail number! Cool


    I spent my entire career in the DAC/BCAG environment and
    I’ve noticed a few things on this site. Few of you actually are industry guys. Even at that, Airbus guys seem to take great glee in bashing Boeing.
    Boeing guys the same bashing Airbus.
    Neither camp is willing to admit that both are highly competent makers
    very complicated products. While both companys have warts, all I see is failure this, incompetent that and management is behind it all. It would be a good thing to get back to what is actually true. Ba and Airbus products are virtually indistinguishable in their performance. They don’t line up exactly against each other, so exact comparisons are difficult. Both company’s are selling product, so the market likes both offerings enough to buy them. As a retired BA guy, I have absolutely no problem with how good Airbus is. They aren’t lucky, they are technically proficient makers of outstanding products. Im getting pretty sick of all the bickering I see here, especially when some get too personal in their attacks. My dad left me with this years ago, Gentlemen will disagree, but they must disagree agreeably. Lets all get back to being gentlemen, make your points without the vitriol.

    • If you look more carefully, you’ll see that most of the personal vitriol and drama comes from the “BA side”. There’s a “damage control squad” here that will go to great lengths to try to create an artificial, more “Boeing-amenable” narrative…including an entity that doesn’t speak English and knows essentially nothing about aviation.

      The aviation press has a negative story about some aspect of BA virtually every day. Desperate attempts at damage control are futile — might as well just go with the flow.

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