AAR has started an aircraft conversion programme with PEMCO World Air Services to offer special mission aircraft to the Colombian Air Force (FAC).

AAR is currently modifying two commercial aircraft, including the Boeing-built 737-400 jets. The passenger-to-cargo conversion programme is anticipated to generate approximately $31m.

AAR Defense Programs vice president David Prusiecki said: "The FAC chose the modified 737-400s, bundled with post-delivery maintenance and logistics support, as the most efficient means to satisfy their air transport, cargo and personnel movement, requirements."

PEMCO president Kevin Casey said: "This is the first time PEMCO and AAR have teamed on this scale, but the companies successfully collaborated to supply and convert a 737-400 Combi for the United States Government earlier this year.”

An FAC spokesperson said: "The Fuerza Aérea Colombiana selected Pemco’s 737-400 freighter and 737-400 Combi for their superior mission capabilities and unrivalled 2m hours of safe, reliable operation.”

Aircraft transactions were managed by AAR, which will also conduct inspections and maintenance checks at its Aircraft Services business in Miami, US.

The first aircraft will be modified from a passenger configuration into a full freighter later this month, while the other will be converted into a passenger/freighter combination (combi) in January 2013.

Supplied along with contractor logistic services (CLS) and ancillary support services, the aircraft are scheduled to be operated by FAC in support of multiple transport and humanitarian missions in rugged terrain.

Launched in 1985 as a stretched 737-300 derivative, the Boeing 737-400 is a short to medium-range twin-engine combi aircraft.