Israel-based Challenge Group will soon send its first 767-300ER for conversion as the group continues with its plans to diversify its freighter fleet.
Challenge Group told Cargo Facts that it expects its first 767-300ER to begin conversion with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in late August and that it has already acquired two Pratt and Whitney PW4060-powered units as feedstock: the 1996-vintage unit 25588 (ex-Air Canada) and the 1999-vintage unit 30301 (ex-Pegas Fly).
The company, which in 2021 signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to convert four 767-300BDSFs and four 777-300ERSFs with IAI, told Cargo Facts that the second and third inductions are planned for January 2023, with the timeline for each freighter conversion being four to five months.
The first 767-300BDSF will be added to a newly created Maltese air operator certificate (AOC) called “Challenge Airlines MT,” the group told Cargo Facts. Whereas Challenge had previously indicated it would assign all four 767-300BDSFs to Challenge Airline MT, the company now intends to place two each with the Malta-based airline and “Challenge Airlines IL,” the new name of the Israel-based CAL Cargo Airlines, the group told Cargo Facts.
Overall, the Challenge Group currently has four 747 freighters: two -400Fs with Challenge Airlines IL, and a -400F and a -400BCF with Belgium-based Challenge Airlines BE.
Challenge Group’s unit 25588 joins the increasing number of ex-Air Canada 767-300ERs that have been selected for freighter conversion by companies like Cargo Aircraft Management (CAM), SF Airlines and YTO Cargo Airlines.