LONDON – Yesterday GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) delivered the first Boeing 777-300ERSF passenger-to-freighter converted aircraft prototype to Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
The aircraft is due to enter service in 2022, and is expected to be part of the next generation of freighter aircraft.
Dubbed “The Big Twin”, as it is larger than the factory freighter, the Boeing 777-300ERSF is expected to replace aging MD-11 and 747-400 aircraft. The aircraft will have a fuel use reduction of 21% compared to the 747-400 freighter, and 25% more cargo volume than the 777-200LRF.
Boeing manufactures the new-build all-cargo 777F, based on the shorter-fuselage -200LR platform and with a list price of US$352m. Complete orders are at 230 aircraft.
Technical Changes to The Aircraft
The structural changes to the aircraft include deactivation of most passenger doors, the addition of a main deck cargo door, window plugs, and the freighter cabin lining.
Also, a reinforced structure in the fuselage and floor allows for the increased payload. For the cargo systems, the main deck can be temperature controlled, allowing for perishable and live animal carriage.
Additionally, there is a 9G rigid cargo barrier installed, and the provisions for a powered or non-powered loading system.
Operation of The Aircraft
When operators introduce the 777-300ERSF into their fleets, if they already operate the 777-200LRF they can look forward to a 90% commonality in most areas.
There will be no simulator training required for Pilot conversion, and maintenance tasks and spares are also closely aligned, ranging from 90% to 100% commonality depending on zone.
For ground operations, there will be no difference in the pallets and containers used, and there will be greater than 95% commonality for the support equipment. The stand size will also not be required to change.
GECAS expects there will be a large demand for this type of conversion; the company currently has 15 firm orders and 15 additional options for the type.
While the prototype will not commence operations until late 2022 due to certification requirements, the aircraft following should each take about 4-5 months to retrofit.
In the report from GECAS in 2019, it expected that this freighter would be especially interesting for express and e-commerce operators. Thus, it will fit in the market as a long-haul, large-capability widebody freighter.