LONDON – Kalitta Air (K4) has signed a leasing agreement with GECAS to be the launch customer of the Boeing 777-300ERSF, of which the airline will take three aircraft. The three aircraft on order will be delivered in 2023, which will begin the era of the first passenger-to-freighter variation of the 777.
This is great news for GECAS and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) who announced the conversion program around a year ago, which will be powered by the usual GE90 engines.
These aircraft will join K4’s existing cargo fleet of 747-400Fs, 767-300SFs and 777Fs. Dubbed ‘The Big Twin’, Kalitta’s Owner Conrad Kalitta explained why this aircraft will provide significant service to the carrier and its destinations.
The Next Step for Kalitta
“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”.
Also commenting on the news was Rich Greener, the Senior Vice President and Manager for Cargo at GECAS who expressed delight over continuing the 15-year relationship with K4.
“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. The 777-300ERSF shares an extensive commonality with the production 777-200LRF. That’s a benefit to any operator looking to bring a new type into their fleet.”
“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. 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.”
Benefits of the Big Twin
The 777-300ERSF will offer 25% more capacity than the standard four-engine freighters with the GE90 as well as achieving 21% lower fuel burn per tonne as well.
Such features were designed specifically for the longer-range variant of the Boeing 777 Series, offering up to 115,000 lbs of thrust. On top of this, GE Aviation will support the aircraft through MRO engine and power-by-the-hour services to ensure the aircraft are powered sufficiently throughout its lifetime.
It is currently unclear what destinations will be served with these new aircraft, as the units are around three years away from delivery. It can be assumed that the aircraft will operate on highly-dense cargo routes in order to cater to such demand.
For Kalitta Air, this is a big step in modernising its fleet ever so slightly and if the program is successful, could result in the order of more variations of that freighter.
Featured Image: Rendering of the Kalitta Air Boeing 777-300ERSF. Photo Credit: GECAS