Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) on Wednesday announced its agreement with Etihad Engineering to establish a new conversion site in Abu Dhabi to facilitate the conversion of Boeing 777-300ERs to cargo planes (777-300ERSF). The new facility, which will be certified by the United Arab Emirates Civil Aviation Authority, the United States Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency, will serve the maintenance center of the company located at Abu Dhabi International Airport. In a statement, Tony Douglas, chief executive of Etihad Aviation Group, said the goal of this new conversion site was to contain the increasing requirements for freighters. According to him, the new site will be a more profitable, greener and very innovative solution for airline customers and will propel the business value of the company.
Cargo operations have been the key to recovering air demand, making cargo a bright spot in the wake of the COVID pandemic. On the one hand, there is a suppression of passenger traffic due to travel restrictions around the world, and on the other hand, airlines are still struggling to cover their fixed costs. Although there are not enough planes to transport essential and urgent materials on time, the conversion of passenger planes to cargo planes has increased.
At this new conversion site, the passenger aircraft will be converted for cargo use in cargo configuration. In addition to this, there will be overhaul, repair and maintenance services, as well as staff training and orientation, assistance in obtaining certification and licensing, etc.
Israel’s normalization agreement with the United Arab Emirates was signed at the White House on September 15, 2020. The Abraham Accords opened the door for the IAI to expand its global business to the United Arab Emirates. Several deals have been made in recent years by Israeli companies in the United Arab Emirates. In March, the IAI and UAE-based EDGE signed an agreement to jointly develop an anti-drone to detect, identify and intercept drones and other UAV threats.
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The cargo conversion center at Abu Dhabi International Airport will expand its services to airlines in the Middle East and the wider region. Etihad Engineering will capitalize on its expertise and capabilities on the conversion of passengers to cargo (P2F) of the Boeing 777-300ERSF while accelerating two conversion lines in the initial phase of this strategic partnership. Boeing’s new cargo aircraft conversion site would be the largest and most advanced site in the Middle East.
The latest deal with the UAE’s national airline, Etihad Airways, is an important part of the relationship between Israel and the Gulf States, which will expand the services of both sides with advanced technology and knowledge transfer. The capacity building will allow IAI and Etihad to expand freight and logistics facilities at a time when demand for cargo planes has increased sharply due to the boom in e-commerce. This partnership with Etihad Engineering to provide P2F conversion on the Boeing 777-300ERs is expected to strengthen IAI’s presence in the Gulf region and will lead to several agreements with local companies in the Gulf countries.
In 2019, IAI and GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) took their first step to cooperate on the conversion of the first Boeing 777-300ERSF. The $ 400 million projects are aimed at creating a freight conversion aircraft. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the aviation industry, the development of a highly efficient cargo ship can help meet current and future air cargo requirements. Last July, it also signed an agreement with Abu Dhabi-based Group 42 to collaborate on COVID-19 research with the aim of developing effective solutions to fight SARS-CoV-2.
About Israel Aerospace Industries
IAI is the country’s largest aerospace and defense company and one of the world leaders in aerospace industry technology that brings together all activities related to human-powered aircraft. At present, the state-owned company IAI specializes in the conversion of Boeing 737 747 and 767 passenger aircraft. Thus, a conversion method for the Boeing 777 is being developed, with the objective of IAI to complete the licensing process by 2023.
Israel Aerospace Industries is one of the conversion leaders, well known as a center for converting passenger aircraft to cargo aircraft. The two parties to this agreement will increase the loading capacity of the fleet, the ground service infrastructure and benefit economically. IAI operates in various markets around the world, providing services from India and Korea in the East through Brazil and Colombia in South America to Germany in Europe and the United Arab Emirates now. With nearly 70 years of experience in human capital and disruptive technologies, it has an attractive clientele such as Amazon, DHL, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Gulf Stream, etc.
Recently, IAI also signed an agreement with Ethiopian Airlines to create a new passenger-to-cargo conversion center in Ethiopia, which will start with three B-767-300 aircraft owned by Ethiopian Airlines.
About Etihad Engineering
Etihad Engineering is one of the leading providers of aviation engineering and maintenance solutions in the Middle East and is part of the Etihad Aviation group. It specializes in providing complete maintenance solutions for Airbus and Boeing aircraft. Using state-of-the-art facilities, Etihad Airways Engineering adheres to world-class quality and safety standards, improves work packages and lowers operating costs for customers. It specializes in air services, engineering, aviation, aircraft maintenance, component repair and technical training at its base at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Boeing 777-300ERSF has high quality and capabilities which attract customers and provide them with optimal solutions. The demand for converting B777 aircraft is high as it is the first in its size class to deliver complete solutions and long-term value, making it a technological breakthrough. The Boeing 777-300ERSF or Big Twin is the most popular type of widebody, known for its capability and performance. Adapted to today’s demand, it has large volume, lower cost, large scope and similarity. This kettle has twin engine efficiency which consumes 21% more fuel than the 747-400 cargo variant and has 25% more volume than the 777-200F cargo ships. He is expected to enter air service in 2022.
Converting passengers to cargo
P2F conversion involves changing the structure of the aircraft that
- Install a new cargo door
- Replace and reinforce the aircraft floor
- Modify electrical systems to allow safe and convenient operations
- Install a brace near the loading opening.
- Recent actions in air freight operations
- Cover windows
- Addition of a bulwark in front of the cockpit
- Installation of a mechanical handling system for pallets
IAI is increasing its production capacity in anticipation of strong demand for fully used cargo jets experiencing increasing volumes of e-commerce. The conversion will consolidate shipments into containers.
Recent actions in air freight operations
Recent actions in air cargo operations led by the COVID-19 pandemic are:
- Deploy retired widebody jets in the air by transforming them into air cargo jets to meet growing demand.
- Use an airliner as a cargo plane by removing seats or putting boxes in the cabin.
- Design and introduce air freight containers to optimize freight volume and minimize operating costs.
The gradual increase in passenger flights will soon lead to the exclusion of new passenger-cargo operators from the market.
The reason for the rise in the conversion of passengers to cargo
The boom in e-commerce has led to the boom in the conversion of passengers to cargo. As more people opt for online shopping and passenger skies remain without air traffic, many airlines and leasing companies are now engaged in converting old passenger jets to airplanes. cargo, helping aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul groups.
As the demand for urgent and urgent freight transport has increased, the passenger shortage has been a blessing in disguise for some airlines to turn the coronavirus crisis into an opportunity through the use of cargo planes on long routes. couriers by reducing ground time and postponement of repair and maintenance. The high demand for cargo in the COVID-led airline industry, caused by the lack of cargo hold capacity, has resulted in the exchange of passengers for cargo. The boom in online shopping and global demand for vaccines and medical supplies have prompted airlines to score a fortuitous repeat for the industry after its worst years.