Etihad Engineering, the largest Middle East provider of commercial aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), has recently signed a strategic partnership with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to convert Boeing 777-300ER’s from passenger to freight (P2F).
According to Abdul Khaliq Saeed, CEO, Etihad Engineering, “We are delighted to announce our partnership with IAI, which maximizes the potential of our highly skilled workforce and reinforces Etihad Engineering’s position as a center of excellence in Abu Dhabi in line with Abu Dhabi’s economic vision 2030. Our commitment to the P2F program demonstrates our confidence in the ability of IAI to deliver long-term value enhancement of the B777-300ER’s in the global fleet.”
While the pandemic has taken its toll on passenger flights, cargo operations are offsetting losses as they continue to play a critical role in facilitating international trade. As a result, industry forecasts reveal an increase in demand for wide-body cargo planes with long-haul capacity.
In 2019, IAI and GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) announced the launch of a Boeing 777-300ERSF conversion program, establishing a P2F conversion dubbed ‘The Big Twin,’ alluding to its status as the largest ever twin-engine freighter.
Etihad Engineering will now capitalize on expertise and capabilities gained during the specialized Boeing 777-300ERSF conversion. In the initial stage of the partnership, Etihad Engineering will work towards two conversion lines accommodating multiple aircraft conversions per year.
“The Boeing 777-300ERSF is not only extremely attractive to customers but a technological breakthrough, given that it’s the first in its size category to offer extensive cargo solutions,” said Tony Douglas, CEO, Etihad Aviation Group. “Not only do we see the demand, but we view it as a greener, more profitable, highly innovative solution for our airline customers and an excellent way to drive value for our business.”
“The Abraham Accords have allowed IAI to expand its global activity to the Gulf region,” added Boaz Levy, President & CEO, Israel Aerospace Industries. “IAI is active in over 100 countries across the world. Establishing the conversion site in partnership with Etihad Engineering is a testament to IAI’s strong ties with the UAE and strengthens its foothold in the region. I am confident that this agreement will lead to many more partnerships with local companies in the Gulf States, which will grow our business in the region.”