Etihad Engineering and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) have signed a strategic partnership to provide passenger to freighter (P2F) conversions on 777-300ERs.
A new conversion centre in Abu Dhabi will operate as IAI’s maintenance centre in the emirate.
In the initial stage of the partnership, Etihad Engineering said it would facilitate towards two conversion lines accommodating multiple aircraft conversions per year.
In 2019, IAI and GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) announced the launch of the Boeing 777-300ERSF, a programme which established a P2F conversion dubbed ‘The Big Twin’ denoting its status as the largest ever twin-engine freighter.
“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 Etihad Aviation Group’s group chief executive officer Tony Douglas. “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.”
Etihad Engineering’s chief executive officer Abdul Khaliq Saeed commented: “Our partnership with IAI maximises the potential of our highly skilled workforce and reinforces Etihad Engineering’s position as a centre of excellence in Abu Dhabi in line with Abu Dhabi’s economic vision 2030. Our commitment to the P2F programme demonstrates our confidence in the ability of IAI to deliver long-term value enhancement of the 777-300ERs in the global fleet.”
Israel Aerospace Industries’ president and CEO Boaz Levy said: “The Abraham Accords have given IAI the opportunity to expand its global activity to the Gulf region. 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.”
Israel Aerospace Industries Aviation Group’s executive vice president and general manager Yossi Melamed added: “Over many years, Etihad Engineering has received the highest professional regard from IAI’s Aviation Group. The Abraham Accords have enabled us to meet the company’s managers first-hand, to see their ability and dedication, in addition to witnessing the company’s great capabilities in the field of jet maintenance. The agreement we signed adds a significant tier to the relations between Israel and the Gulf States. I have no doubt following this agreement, additional agreements with companies in the region will arrive, and they will economically benefit the sides involved. I would like to thank Tony Douglas, the company’s CEO, and my friend Abdul Khaliq Saeed for the energy they invested in bringing to fruition the first cooperation agreement between IAI and Etihad Engineering. I eagerly await the moment when 777-300ERSF jets converted jointly by IAI and Etihad Engineering will take to the skies and serves clients all over the world.”