GECAS Cargo has announced an agreement with Kalitta Air for three 777-300ERSF aircraft, known as the ‘big twin’.
With this agreement, Kalitta will be the first operator of the new passenger-to-freighter type, adding to their all-cargo fleet when these aircraft deliver in 2023.
Dubbed “the big twin,” the 777-300ERSF will be the largest ever twin-engine freighter.
Announced a year ago, the conversion program is jointly funded by GECAS and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), with GECAS delivering the prototype aircraft to undergo conversion in June of this year. Setting a new benchmark for cargo operators, the big twin will be powered by GE90 engines, what it claims to be the world’s most powerful in-service engine.
With twenty years of providing scheduled and on-demand charter service in the United States and around the world, Kalitta Air currently operates a fleet of more than three dozen cargo planes, including 747-400F, 767-300SF and 777F.
“Providing air express delivery all around the world for virtually any type of freight, the addition of these three 777-300ERSF freighters will help us meet the needs of our customers,” said Kalitta Air owner, Conrad Kalitta.
“We are delighted to continue our 15-year relationship with Kalitta Air and proud they’ve become the launch customer with the 777-300ERSF freighter for its future air cargo operations,” said GECAS SVP and manager of cargo, Rich Greener.
“The 777-300ERSF shares extensive commonality with the production 777-200LRF. That’s a benefit to any operator looking to bring a new type into their fleet.”
The Big Twin will also offer 25 per cent more capacity and it is anticipated that it will achieve up to 21 per cent lower fuel-burn per tonne than the current 4-engine freighters with the GE90. This was designed specifically for the longer-range Boeing 777 series, providing up to 115,000lbs. of thrust.
In addition to producing the sole-source engine for the 777 variants, GE Aviation will support MRO engine and power-by-the-hour services to ensure continued performance throughout the lifecycle of the converted freighters.
“GECAS Cargo has developed a new standard for aviation lessors, leveraging our fleet of passenger aircraft to provide freighter conversion feedstock — for this 777-300ERSF program as well as converting 737-800NGs,” Greener added.
“This approach extends the useful life of our aircraft and GE / CFM engines while meeting the need for replacements of retiring freighters and increased demand for dedicated cargo capacity.”