IAI’s Aviation Group to Establish a Conversion Centre in Abu Dhabi

By ARIE EGOZI

Civil Aviation

Tel Aviv: The Aviation Group of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will establish a conversion centre in Abu Dhabi. The first customer is Emirates who plans to convert a great number of its Boeing 777 from passenger to freight configuration. The Aviation Group of IAI is the largest conversion facility in the world and expanding. The great number of orders for 777 conversions brought IAI to open conversion centres in South Korea, Singapore and now in Abu Dhabi.

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In a special interview Shmuel Kuzi, IAI’s executive vice president and general manager – Aviation Group revealed there is a plan to open a conversion centre in the US. “We have many dozens of orders for conversions and the number is going up. The conversion centres in foreign countries operate under our supervision and allow us to meet the demand.”

As reported by Raksha Anirveda last month, IAI signed an agreement with Sharp Technics K (Sharp) and Incheon International Airport Corporation, to establish a facility for the passenger-to-freight conversion of Boeing 777-ERSF (Big Twin) aircraft in South Korea.

IAI’s Aviation Group recently successfully completed a test flight of a 777 after it underwent passenger-to-cargo conversion, the first of its kind in the world. At the same time, the company is in the final stages of receiving the necessary licensing approval, a process that is expected to be concluded within the year. The high demand for a converted 777 stems from the growing demand for air freight services around the world especially in long haul flights.

The IAI senior official said that on top of the “many dozens” of signed contracts for 777 conversion there are options for additional “many dozens”. Kuzi also shared that the group plans to get the supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the conversion of the Airbus 330. “ We expect  a great number of orders for conversions of the Airbus 330 in the coming years,” he said.

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Kuzi added that the numbers of conversions for Boeing 767 are expected to drop while the requests for 777 conversions are expected to break all previous records. “The potential is unprecedented and we are ready to answer all this demand.”

He stated that a conversion which includes opening a side cargo door takes between 3 to 4 months. The Aviation Group of IAI operates a control centre that is assisting the crews in the overseas centres to solve any problem they encounter during the conversion.

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