Etihad, IAI To Provide 777-300ER PTF Conversions

A boom in the cargo market for long-haul widebody aircraft like the 777-300ER was a factor in the partnership being formed.
Credit: IAI/Etihad

United Arab Emirates-based MRO Etihad Engineering has signed a strategic partnership with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to provide passenger to freighter (P2F) conversions on Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

In a statement released early Wednesday (August 25), Etihad says the initial stage of the partnership will see it carry out two conversion lines accommodating multiple aircraft conversions per year from Abu Dhabi.

Etihad noted the boom in long-haul cargo services, with demand expected to further increase for widebody aircraft carrying out freighter functions. 

Two years ago, Israeli aerospace giant IAI entered a partnership with GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) on the Boeing 777-300ERSF, dubbed ‘The Big Twin’, the largest ever twin-engine freighter to enter the market. The aircraft,  powered by GE90 engines, underwent its first PTF conversion at IAI’s site in Tel Aviv in April.

“Our commitment to the P2F program demonstrates our confidence in the ability of IAI to deliver long-term value enhancement of the B777-300ER’s in the global fleet,” says Abdul Khaliq Saeed, CEO of Etihad Engineering.

The signing of the Abraham Accords last year, normalizing diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE, has opened up a new market for IAI, according to its president and CEO Boaz Levy.

It has also expanded its global footprint over the past year through the signing of agreements to add new conversion sites for Boeing 777 aircraft in South Korea, 737-700 and -800 aircraft in Italy, and Ethiopia for Boeing 767-300 aircraft.

In addition to its home base in Tel Aviv, Israel, it also operates a PTF conversion center in Mexico City. It also signed a memorandum of understanding in March with Lithuania’s Aviatic to establish a new aircraft maintenance center in Siauliai from 2022. The site will cater for PTF conversions of 737NG aircraft.

James Pozzi

As Aviation Week's MRO Editor EMEA, James Pozzi covers the latest industry news from the European region and beyond. He also writes in-depth features on the commercial aftermarket for Inside MRO.