Ethiopian Airlines will diversify its cargo fleet and introduce the 767-300F platform as its third current-generation freighter type.
The carrier, which recently took delivery of a third 737-800SF (32903, ex-Pegasus) on lease from GA Telesis and now has nine 777Fs and three 737-800Fs, told Cargo Facts that it intends to convert two of its 767-300ERs according to the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) STC, and plans to carry out the conversions at its own MRO facility in Addis Ababa (ADD).
Ethiopian said it expects the first aircraft to undergo conversion from July through November 2021, while the second aircraft will begin this December and be completed by March 2022.
For IAI, the Ethiopian Airlines deal will add a new conversion site for the 767 platform, and the first jet freighter conversion line on the African continent. IAI currently converts 767-300ERs at its own facility in Tel Aviv (TLV) and at the Mexicana MRO Services facility in Mexico City (MEX), where IAI added a second line last year. IAI declined to comment on whether it will set ADD up as a long-term conversion site for customers beyond Ethiopian.
Ethiopian did not identify the two aircraft involved, but it only has three 767-300ERs (33767, 33768 and 33769) left in its fleet, powered by Pratt & Whitney PW4000-94 engines and delivered new from Boeing in 2003, 2004 and 2005, respectively. The airline operates unit 33767 on behalf of the United Nations.
The carrier had been evaluating medium-widebody freighters for some time, but in February 2021 told Cargo Facts it had not decided whether it would move forward with 767 or A330 freighter conversions.
As for other upcoming fleet changes, Ethiopian expects to add a fourth 737-800SF around May 2021, and told Cargo Facts earlier this year that it planned to add a 777F in 2021.
Shortly before it lost a six-year-old 777F (42031) to a fire in July 2020, Ethiopian had told Cargo Facts it was looking to add one new 777F, three converted 767Fs and two converted 737Fs.
In the past, Ethiopian Airlines operated modest fleets of MD-11Fs and 757-200Fs.
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