Embraer Starts First Passenger-To-Freighter Conversion

Embraer E-Jets Freighter
Credit: Embraer

Embraer received the first E190 that will undergo a passenger-to-freighter conversion. 

The aircraft, from an undisclosed customer, arrived on Feb. 17 and will undergo a maintenance check and conversion at the OEM’s facility in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil. 

Embraer is starting the maintenance check and “we expect to start the structural work on the aircraft by the second quarter,” says Gustavo Ribeiro, Embraer Services & Support head of business management and sales strategy. 

The first conversion should take 15 months, including the redelivery check, according to Frank Stevens, Embraer Service & Support VP global MRO centers. He expects that figure to drop to eight months by the fourth conversion and four months by the sixth aircraft. “So we’re really going to gain speed as we get the through the first couple aircraft,” Stevens says.

Embraer expects the certification and delivery of the first aircraft to be in the second quarter 2024.

“I really think this is going to bring a whole new avenue to the cargo world that people didn’t think of before,” Stevens adds.

The work will be done in two hangars—one for the conversion and the other for the redelivery check because every aircraft coming in for conversion “is going to change hands between customers,” Stevens says. That process also includes fresh paint.

“We expect a flow of about 10 aircraft per year for the next 12 years,” Stevens says.

At this time, Embraer has two contracts, which include up to 20 cargo conversions, Ribeiro says. Lessor Nordic Aviation Capital is the E-Jet cargo conversion program’s launch customer.

The company would not disclose the conversion cost.

Lee Ann Shay

As executive editor of MRO and business aviation, Lee Ann Shay directs Aviation Week's coverage of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), including Inside MRO, and business aviation, including BCA.