The aircraft set to become the prototype 777-300ERSF has arrived in Tel Aviv (TLV), where it will be converted into freighter configuration by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) [FATs 005447-005448].
The 777-300ER (32789) had previously been in operation with Emirates since 2005, on lease from GECAS. The carrier told Cargo Facts it withdrew the aircraft from service in February 2020 to undergo phase-out and redelivery checks it before returning it to GECAS at the end of March. The 777 was sent to be parked in Sharjah (SHJ) in late April and on June 3 was ferried to TLV via Athens (ATH).
IAI told Cargo Facts the aircraft is expected to begin ground tests in the coming week and will be inducted for conversion shortly. The supplemental type certificate (STC) is anticipated for 2022.
The modifications to convert the aircraft into a full freighter include: the main-deck cargo door; a freighter lining; window plugs and deactivated passenger doors; a reinforced fuselage and floor; a cargo-loading system; temperature-control systems, smoke-detection systems; a 9G rigid barrier; and a modified crew compartment.
GECAS and IAI co-launched the 777-300ERSF conversion program in October 2019, with GECAS committing to fifteen firm orders and fifteen additional options. GECAS is also co-funding the project.
Emirates has a number of 777-300ERs on lease from GECAS. These are the oldest 777-300ERs in GECAS’ fleet, with seven more between fourteen and fifteen years old. After unit 32789, the two next oldest aircraft are units 32790 and 32788, which have not flown since February and March, respectively, and are currently stored in Dubai (DXB). GECAS and IAI both declined to provide specifics about the second frame for conversion.