Bedek Aviation Group, the MRO and conversion arm of Israel Aerospace Industries, reached an agreement with Mexicana MRO Services under which Mexicana will perform passenger-to-freighter conversions 767-300 aircraft at its Mexico City facility for Bedek.
Bedek said that in preparation for the induction of the first aircraft later this month, “dozens of Mexicana employees, including structural engineers, electricians, mechanics and engineers employed in maintenance of aircraft of the B767-300 have undergone training at IAI.” And, regarding the aircraft to be inducted, Bedek added that it was part of “an order for a number of aircraft.”
Demand for 767-300 P-to-F conversions increased significantly in the last three years, pushed by several factors:
- Availability of feedstock. A shortage of 767-300ER feedstock, brought on by a combination of strongly growing passenger traffic and delays in Boeing’s 787 program, finally eased.
- Rapidly growing demand for express delivery, driven by the explosion of e-commerce, in turn drove demand for 767 freighters. This hit first in Canada, when Cargojet Airways had a sudden need for 767s after winning the Purolator/Canada Post contract, and accelerated madly in the US when Amazon decided to enter the air freight business with a forty-unit 767 freighter fleet. A few of the Amazon Prime Air freighters are 767-200Fs that were already in operation by ABX Air, but most are or will be newly-converted 767-300s. Demand was increased further when China-based SF Airlines decided to add widebody freighters and chose the 767-300.
- And finally, FedEx added another fifty units to its order with Boeing for 767-300 production freighters. This, combined with Boeing’s need to produce 767 refueling tankers for the US Air Force, left the manufacturer unable to accept further production freighter orders, leaving conversion as the only choice. The first hint of this came earlier this year when UPS ordered the first of what Cargo Facts believes will be a large number of 767-300 conversions from Boeing.
Only two 767-300 passenger-to-freighter conversion programs are currently available – the 767-300BDSF from Bedek, and the 767-300BCF from Boeing. Until recently, each of these companies had only one 767 conversion site, Bedek at its own facility in Tel Aviv, and Boeing at the ST Aero facility in Singapore. Not surprising then that Boeing recently set up a second 767 conversion center at the EGAT facility in Taiwan, and that Bedek is now doing the same through the agreement with Mexicana.
Those interested in learning more about Bedek’s passenger-to-freighter conversions are invited to join us at this year’s Cargo Facts Symposium, to be held in the Ritz-Carlton on Miami’s South Beach, 2-4 October, 2017. Rafi Matalon, Senior Director, GM Marketing & Business Development, IAI/Bedek Aviation Group will be speak on a panel discussion related to narrowbody, and up-and-coming conversion programs. For more information, or to register, visit www.cargofactssymposium.com
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