Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has begun the structural modification phase in the conversion of the first Boeing 777-300ERSF, in partnership with GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS). The beginning of the conversion marks the end of the development process and the start of the structural and systems modification phase. The conversion process will take approximately 130 days, at the end of which the passenger aircraft will be turned into a freighter aircraft.
The development process is complicated and highlights IAI engineers’ extensive experience in aviation, with their envisioned goal of creating a cargo conversion aircraft that will have the high quality and capabilities providing clients with the optimal solution. The passenger-to-freighter conversion includes changing the structure, which involves installing a new cargo door, replacing and strengthening the aircraft floor, installing reinforcements near the cargo opening, and modifying electrical systems to enable safe and convenient operation. In addition, the process will include receiving certification for the converted aircraft by the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), among others.
Over the past few years, there has been an increased demand for cargo jets due to a rise in e-commerce, which has peaked during the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically for the Boeing 767 model. As of today, all the slots for converting the Boeing 767 are filled until 2022. IAI is the leading conversion center for cargo jets, and among its customers are market leaders including as Amazon, DHL, UPS and others.