DALLAS — The first Boeing 777-300ER converted freighter has taken to the skies for the first time. The passenger-to-freighter (P2F) conversion was carried out by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), with the maiden example set to be delivered to AerCap.
The B777-300ERSF is the largest two-engine cargo airliner in the world and is currently in the final steps of the certification process.
One of Boeing’s most popular cargo aircraft is the B777F. Over 220 planes of this type are operated. Boeing is building the cargo aircraft from the factory, based on a B777-200LR.
In 2019, GECAS, General Electric’s and IAI’s leasing arm, jointly decided to convert a B777-300ER, dubbed the “Big Twin.”
The converted jet is around two meters longer than a conventional B777F and, according to GECAS, has a 25% increased capacity compared to other twin-engine cargo aircraft. A large loading door has been installed, allowing 819 cubic meters of loading volume. According to the IAI, the maximum payload should be around 100 tons, with a range of around 8,600 kilometers.
This means that the 777-300ERSF is actually in the power range of the 747-400F. The biggest advantage is that it still needs about 20% less kerosene in comparison and thus contributes to reducing CO2 emissions in aviation.
The first B777-ERSF is set to be delivered to the US freight airline Kalitta Air (K4), based in Ypsilanti (Michigan). K4 has placed an order for three of the type and is set to receive the first “Big Twin” in 2023. More than 60 aircraft are expected to be delivered over the next five years. AerCap alone has ordered 20 cargo aircraft of this type and signed options for another 10.
To meet the high demand for cargo aircraft, Israel Aerospace Industries is setting up several remote conversion sites worldwide in addition to the facilities of IAI’s parent company. Last year, the IAI Aviation Group signed hundreds of millions of dollars worth of passenger-to-freighter conversion contracts with the world’s largest airlines, including AerCap, Emirates Cargo, Challenge Group, EVA Air and CargoJet.
Featured Image: Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).