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IAI to Convert Boeing 777s to Freighters for GECAS

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will convert Boeing 777 passenger aircraft to cargo configuration, according to a big contract signed with GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS).

Under the “Big Twin” deal, IAI will convert wide-body, 2-engine Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. The first aircraft is due for delivery to GECAS in 2022. IAI is committed to providing GECAS with 15 converted aircraft, with an option for 15 additional conversions in the future. This agreement is the entry of the Israeli company into the 777-conversion market.

IAI’s Aviation Group is responsible for all of IAI’s maned aircraft, both civilian and military. The Group is one of the few vendors in the world who specialize in the conversion and certification of passenger airplanes into cargo configuration. Some of Aviation Groups’ customers include the world’s largest shipping companies, such as Amazon, DHL and UPS. GECAS is a subsidiary of General Electric (GE) and world leader aircraft leasing company.

Yosi Melamed, IAI EVP, and General Manager of the Aviation Group commented, “During the last 40 years IAI’s accumulated a vast experience, and reputation in the conversion niche, which includes cargo conversions of Boeing 747, 767, 737NG and the classic 737 and placed us as a cargo conversion house and world leader. The cargo conversion business grows year by year to the extensive demand for e-Commerce. The collaboration with GECAS, which started over 20 years ago, has already proved its worth in over 70 conversions. The newly-signed contract is another vote of trust on GECAS’ behalf, which we plan to undertake at the same level of quality and creditability.”

Richard Greener, SVP and Manager of GECAS Cargo said, “We are excited to collaborate with IAI on this program. Their proven experience, knowledge, and unique engineering skill and resources in passenger to freighter conversion — combined with our working relationship with IAI stretching back into the 1990’s —gives us the confidence to co-fund the STC Development and committing to the Program as a Launch Customer of the B777-300ERSF.

By Arie Egozi

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