Driven by demand expectations, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is expanding its B777 freighter conversion capacity with a new facility in Incheon, South Korea.
IAI Aviation Group signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA), with the Incheon International Airport and Sharp Technics, to establish a Passenger 2 Cargo (P2F) conversion site in South Korea.
The facility will specialise in converting B777-ERSF (Big Twin) from passenger to freighter format.
Within the framework of the agreement, IAI will convert six B777-300ER and B777-200LR per year, starting in 2024.
“Establishing more P2F aircraft conversion facilities around the world is necessary in order to meet the expected rise in demand for wide-body freighter aircraft with capacity for long flights,” IAI says.
The converted freighter dubbed the ‘Big Twin,’ is a collaboration between IAI and GECAS with the design making use of the existing B777-300ER passenger airframe. The conversion will rely on the same GE90 engines used in the production freighter.
The Big Twin will have 25 per cent more cargo capacity than the standard B777 production freighter, which is based on the -200LR series. And the aircraft will burn 21 per cent less fuel per tonne than a B747-400 freighter. It is also expected to maintain 90 per cent commonality with the B777 production freighter.
The freighter is expected to attract strong interest from cargo airlines looking to retire their ageing B747-400 Freighters.
GECAS has placed 15 firm orders and has 15 additional options for the aircraft, which will be leased to cargo operators.