IAI establishes a freight conversion hub in South Korea

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has entered a partnership to establish a passenger to freight conversion programme in South Korea.

The deal, signed with Sharp Technics K (Sharp) and Incheon International Airport Corporation, will focus on the conversion of Boeing 777-ERSF (Big Twin) aircraft.

Conversions are due to start in 2024. IAI has successfully completed a test flight with a converted 777, the first aircraft to have been converted.

The company is in the final stages of receiving the necessary licensing approval, a process that is expected to be concluded within the year.

Setting up passenger-to-freight conversion facilities around the world is required due to the expected demand for wide-body freighter aircraft capable of long-haul flights, such as the 777, which after conversion will be able to carry loads of up to 100 tons.

According to analysts’ reports, the combination of these capabilities, with the significant fuel saving that the aircraft will permit – will make it one of the most popular freighter aircraft in the world, which will join IAI’s family of converted aircraft.

IAI’s president and chief executive, Boaz Levy, said: “The signing Ceremony held today reflects our close technological partnerships and business collaboration with the Republic of Korea.

“ROK and IAI are natural partners, sharing values and a bright vision of mutual technological innovation. We are happy to promote local partnerships, and work together on developing advanced solutions for present and future changing needs.

“IAI offers a wide variety of defense solutions and technological advancements for the region and for the Republic of Korea.”

Executive vice president and general manager of IAI’s Aviation Group, Shmuel Kuzi, added: “Today’s signing of the agreement with Sharp and Incheon International Airport represents a direct continuation of the many collaboration agreements already existing between IAI and South Korean companies, and underscores the confidence that the company has in South Korea’s ability to set up a conversion facility within the required timetable, while training the necessary personnel.

“IAI’s Aviation Group is a world leader in the field of wide-body passenger-to-freight aircraft conversions, and operates several such lines in Israel and around the world. I look forward to expanding our strategic cooperation with Korean companies and with the South Korean government.”

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