China’s Lanzhou Aviation Industry Development Group has signed a deal with the world’s third-largest plane maker, Brazil’s Embraer, to convert passenger jets into freight aircraft.
Under the deal, Embraer will turn 20 E190F and E195F aircraft into cargo carriers, Reuters reports, but the financial details have not been disclosed.
“It is a market with increasing demand for cargo aircraft to accommodate the tremendous growth of e-commerce trade and the consequent evolution of the logistics industry,” Embraer’s commercial aviation chief executive, Arjan Meijer, told media.
Embraer forecasts demand for its E-jet freighters to reach 700 aircraft over the next 20 years, with China accounting for 240 of them. It added that the Lanzhou deal was a “strong indicator” of demand.
According to Reuters, the Brazilian plane maker currently has 85 E-Jets flying in China with Tianjin, Hebei, Beibu Gulf and Colorful Guizhou airlines.
Embraer has been widely expected to pick up new business in China since President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s trip in April. During the visit, the Brazilian leader publicly backed Embraer’s efforts to return to the Chinese market, where it has struggled to find new business in recent years.