MIAMI – Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has announced that it has finished cutting an opening in the hull of the first Boeing 777-300 the company is to convert from passenger to cargo.

This will enable IAI to install a cargo door on the aircraft.

The cargo door will be in the opening. Photo: IAI

The Boeing 777-300ERSF

IAI and GECAS announced earlier this year that they wanted to introduce a new aircraft conversion: the Boeing 777-300ERSF, also known as the Big Twin. According to the company’s website, this aircraft will “reshape the Air Cargo world of long-haul, large capacity freighters.”

The Boeing 777 is “the most successful widebody variant in aviation history, with almost 850 sold.” This conversion will allow the type to be even more important in the Air Cargo market, even if there is already the Boeing 777-200F, which is built directly by Boeing.

The aircraft is expected to be very efficient, as it will carry “25% more volume than the 777-200F”, and it will burn “21% less fuel per tonne than the 747-400 Freighters.” The first prototype is currently undergoing its conversion process and is expected to enter service in 2022.

The opening in the hull of the converted 777. Photo: IAI

Cutting Open the Big Twin

Earlier this week, IAI revealed it had finished cutting an opening in the Big Twin’s fuselage, making way for the installation of a cargo door, thus converting the aircraft to a cargo one.

In addition to the cargo door, IAI has to change several elements in the aircraft to make it a cargo transport. The cabin floor will be reinforced, as well as the hull next to the cargo door. Additionally, the electric systems will be adapted to the new type of operations. The type will then go through a certification process with the FFA before it’s ready for operations.

IAI’s General Manager Yossi Melamed declared in a company press release, “Completing the 777-300ER conversion on time and according to the planned schedule is at the top of the Aviation Group’s priorities. Today, we mark an exciting step in the prototype’s conversion”

Featured image courtesy: IAI press release