MIAMI – Boeing has held the dominant position in the air cargo market for quite some time now with the Boeing 777F being its best product, which is based on the design of the Boeing 777-200 variant. The time to extend and move onto the longer 777-300 variant has come.
Earlier today Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in partnership with GECAS have confirmed the start of their project on the conversion of the world’s first Boeing 777-300ERSF. IAI has already commenced structural design modifications to the existing passenger variant carrying out the so-called P2F conversion process.
The conversion is a near US$400m agreement that was signed back in 2019. To successfully convert the aircraft into a cargo master, it will take approximately 130 days.
Yossi Melamed, Executive VP of the Aviation Group at IAI stated, “Two years ago, we took our first steps on the courageous journey of the cooperation agreement to convert the Boeing 777-300ERSF aircraft. Over the course of these past two years, we have invested thousands of hours coupled with engineering and logistical efforts, in order to reach this moment in accordance with the original schedule.”
“The demand for converting the B777 aircraft is high, and I expect that the open spots for conversions will be quickly filled.”
He further stated, “Over the past few years, there has been an increased demand for cargo jets due to a rise in e-commerce, which has peaked during the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically for the B767 model. As of today, all the slots for converting the B767 are filled until 2022.”
IAI states the process is a complicated one requiring top IAI engineers on this project. The aircraft currently being modified is a Boeing 777-300ER which once operated for Emirates (EK), now belongs to GECAS with registration N557CC (MSN 32789).
The passenger-to-freighter conversion includes changing the structure, which involves installing a new cargo door, replacing and strengthening the aircraft floor, installing reinforcements near the cargo opening, and modifying electrical systems to enable safe and convenient operation.
Boeing 777-300ERSF features include:
- Big-cargo capability that sees 25% more volume than the 777-200F (Production Freighter)
- Twin-engine efficiency that burns 21% less fuel per tonne than the 747-400 freighters.
- The payload and range capability will seamlessly replace aging 747-400 and MD11 freighters.
- Due to enter service in 2022 and American cargo airline Kalitta Air (K4) will be the launch customer.
Featured image: Boeing 777-300ERSF Freighter | Image: IAI