Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Aviation Group has signed an agreement with Ethiopian Airlines to establish a conversion site for Boeing 767-300 passenger aircraft.
The new passenger-to-freighter conversion centre will operate from Ethiopian’s maintenance centre in Addis Ababa.
IAI said the move was in response to rising demand for cargo aircraft of the type. The conversion line in Ethiopia will join existing conversion sites IAI operates at its campus in Ben Gurion International Airport and in Mexico.
The conversion site will provide solutions in the field of converting passenger aircraft to cargo configuration, aircraft maintenance and overhaul, staff training and guidance, as well as assistance in acquiring certification and licenses.
“We are witnessing a sharp rise in the demand for cargo aircraft as a result of the rise in e-commerce, which has peaked to record levels during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said IAI’s Aviation Group executive VP and general manager Yossi Melamed. “IAI has an excellent reputation as a conversion centre of passenger-to-freighters aircraft, and we are constantly receiving requests to open such conversion centres in more and more locations around the world. I am excited by the opening of the current centre in Ethiopia, and thank my colleagues in Ethiopian Airlines for the trust they have put in IAI’s Aviation Group.”
Ethiopian Airlines’ group chief executive officer Tewolde GebreMariam said: “In line with our ‘Diversified Aviation Business Model of Vision 2025’, we have been increasing our cargo capacity in fleet, ground service infrastructure and cargo connectivity network.
“The cargo conversion centre will commence its first business with three Ethiopian Airlines owned 767-300 aircraft. The cargo conversion centre in ADD HUB airport will expand its services to all airlines in Africa and the wider region. We are very happy that we are able to collaborate with IAI to enable us to expand our cargo and logistics services, which is already the largest and leading cargo network in Africa. The capacity building will also help us expand our MRO services with cutting edge technology and knowledge transfer.”