Following an aggressive sales campaign in recent months, IAI Bedek has added new customers as it adapted its portfolio to new market needs, Joseph Melamed, general manager of IAI Bedek Aviation Group, told ShowNews. 

“Our operations are now focused on cargo conversions of Boeing 737-300 narrowbody and Boeing 767ER widebody aircraft. Both are addressing current market needs,” he said. Melamed expects the company to continue these activities in upcoming years. “We plan to expand narrowbody work to 737-700, 800, NG as these aircraft are retired from passenger fleets and become available for conversion,” Melamed added. Bedek also plans to add Boeing 777 conversions in the future, but has not yet begun the supplemental typle process. “We follow the market. When there will be demand for cargo conversions of 777, will be ready. Right now there is no alternative for the 747, but in the future the 777 economy will drive market demand,” Melamed said.

BEDEK MRO operations are also expanding. “We have added two new customers for our MRO services and anticipate they will remain with us long term.” Says Melamed. While Bedek continues to conduct heavy maintenance in-house, the company plans to establish operational sites outside Israel in the future.

“Yes, we have plans to go global. We are seeking to expand in developing markets, where we see the potential for growth,” he said. The European market is saturated and the expected growth here does not justify such investments.”

In the military conversion field, the Brazilian air force has selected the Bedek 767 Multi-Mission Tanker Transport (MMTT) as its future tanker-transport aircraft. IAI Bedek is also competing against Airbus and Boeing to supply four aerial tankers to the Korean air force. “Our offer is strong and attractive. We have a highly advanced system, utilizing proven, efficient commercial platforms and convert them for military use. These aircraft provide the same missions of new-built planes, but cost significantly less,” Melamed said.

Through the conversion process the aircraft is overhauled and equipped with new systems preparing it for the different missions – aerial refueling, transport, VIP, etc. IAI has offered significant work share to the Republic of Korea, practically in subcontracting, and technology transfer for the manufacturing of assemblies. “This package offers excellent opportunity for Korea,” Melamed said.

IAI is one of five manufacturers offering tanker aircraft. The market for these strategic assets is quite limited, with only large air forces able to afford brand new tankers.