IAI looks to add European conversion site

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is exploring the possibility of adding conversion lines at the Aviatic MRO facility at Siauliai International Airport (SQQ) in Lithuania.

The Aviatic MRO facility occupies an area of 471 hectares at SQQ, which is located in northern Lithuania. The facility is operational 24/7, has no noise restrictions, and is capable of accepting aircraft of all sizes.

The services IAI provides span across multiple sectors and include defense, space, maritime, communications and commercial aviation. While the company offers a range of MRO services such as for airframes, engines and helicopter rotor blades, IAI confirmed specifically to Cargo Facts that it was considering Aviatic as a remote site for passenger-to-cargo conversions.

IAI didn’t specify which of its conversion programs it would consider executing in SQQ, but it is unlikely that the newly launched 777-300ERSF would be converted anywhere other than in Tel Aviv (TLV), at least for a number of years. We wouldn’t be surprised to see 737-700s and 737-800s being converted at the Aviatic MRO facility, given growing express traffic in Europe and the number of freighter-converted 737 Classics that will eventually need to be replaced.

If IAI does proceed with a partnership with Aviatic, SQQ would be the company’s first conversion site in Europe. IAI already has a 737-700 conversion line in China and a 767-300 conversion line in Mexico.

IAI also told Cargo Facts that it had handed over to the FAA everything it needed to for the supplemental type certificate (STC) for its 737-800BDSF, and that it was expecting to obtain the certification imminently. The two completed frames (30498 and 28619) both made their way from TLV across the Atlantic over the past week and are currently in Lake City, FL (LCQ).

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