Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is continuing its global growth and will establish a third site for 777-300ERSF conversions by partnering with the Etihad Engineering facility in Abu Dhabi (AUH).
IAI told Cargo Facts that it currently plans to have two conversion lines at AUH and expects the first induction to take place in April 2023.
IAI, which in May 2021 said it will also build two lines for 777 conversions at the Sharp Technics K facility in Seoul (ICN), told Cargo Facts that it has been searching the MRO market worldwide since the launch of its 777-300ERSF conversion program for suitable locations, and that it believes the Etihad Engineering facility is one of them.
The selection of Abu Dhabi is not only based on demand from the Gulf region, but “very high interest” globally, IAI said.
Etihad could not immediately comment on the 777-300ERSF and its freighter fleet plans.
The deal would not have been possible if not for the August 2020 agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates to normalize diplomatic relations.
IAI told Cargo Facts that it is still looking at other MRO facilities around the world and expects to add more 777 conversion sites later this year.
The company, which recently began cutting metal for the cargo door on the prototype 777-300ERSF (32789, ex-Emirates) in Tel Aviv (TLV), is also expanding conversion capacity for its other programs, with 767s at the Ethiopian Airlines MRO facility in Addis Ababa (ADD), and 737NGs at the Atitech facility in Naples (NAP) and the Aviatic MRO facility in Siauliai (SQQ), Lithuania.
IAI has also increased its output for 737NG and 767-300 conversions at the Mexicana MRO Services facility in Mexico City (MEX).
The Etihad Engineering facility already serves freighter operators like LATAM Cargo, having completed heavy maintenance on one of the carrier’s 767-300BCFs (35229) just this month.
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