Buffalo Airways acquired a Boeing 737 from Swiftair via European Aviation Group.

Key Points:

  • Buffalo Airways took delivery of its first jet, the Boeing 737-300SF, aiming to enhance next-day freight delivery to the North.

  • The Boeing 737 underwent repairs and upgrades in Bournemouth, and further avionics modifications will be completed in Edmonton before it officially enters service.

  • While external contracts contribute to Buffalo's freight volume, 60-75% is handled by their own courier service, Buffalo Air Express.

YELLOWKNIFE — Buffalo Airways marked a significant upgrade by adding a Boeing 737-300SF to its fleet on August 3, 2023. This addition will address the surging demand for swift freight deliveries to northern regions, skiesmag reports.

Despite the airline's official announcement of this acquisition in April 2022, Buffalo's efforts began much earlier, tracing back to summer 2021. The jet, originally built in 1986, was procured from European Aviation Group, Bournemouth, U.K., and had previously been in service with Madrid's Swiftair.

As the week began, Mikey McBryan, Buffalo’s general manager, kept enthusiasts updated on the Boeing 737's journey. Scheduled to journey from Bournemouth to Edmonton, Alberta, the aircraft, bearing the tail number “2-ESKA,” started its voyage on August 2. The plane made a scheduled refueling pitstop in Iceland's Keflavík before proceeding to Iqaluit, Nunavut, for an overnight stay. Completing its final leg on August 3, the jet touched down in Edmonton by mid-afternoon.

While Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, serves as Buffalo Airways' primary base, the new jet will operate its weekly overnight freight missions between Edmonton and Fort Smith.

McBryan highlighted the 737's potential, emphasizing that it would enable Buffalo to triple its nightly freight capacity, outperforming the older C-46 cargo plane. A significant proportion of the cargo originates from Buffalo's in-house courier service, Buffalo Air Express, accounting for 60 to 75 percent. Meanwhile, logistics giants such as FedEx, UPS, and DHL also contribute to the airline's consignments, demanding prompt next-day deliveries.

During its tenure in Bournemouth, the jet received extensive repair work, inclusive of new engines and landing gear installations. With the plane now stationed in Edmonton, the next phase includes avionics upgrades such as a new GPS, a secondary flight management computer, enhanced satellite communication, and ADS-B additions. Logic Air, a Quebec-based firm, will be overseeing these modifications, projecting a three-week timeframe for completion.

However, Buffalo Airways' aspirations faced some setbacks. The company had initially anticipated the Boeing 737's delivery and service induction by summer 2022. Unfortunately, unforeseen maintenance challenges coupled with regulatory hiccups shifted this target to late summer 2023.