Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) Aviation Group has signed an agreement with Etihad Engineering to establish a passenger-to-cargo plan conversion site for Boeing 777-3000ER aircraft in Abu Dhabi. The conversion center will provide a solution for the global rise in demand for cargo jets due to increased international online purchases and the lack of container and shipping space. The conversion center in the UAE is an addition to other global cargo conversion sites that IAI operates, besides its existing conversion lines in Israel at Ben Gurion International Airport. Only last week IAI signed a similar agreement with Ethiopian Airways to set up a conversion center in Addis Ababa for Boeing 767-300 passenger aircraft.
Etihad Engineering is the largest commercial aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services provider in the Middle East, and the center in Abu Dhabi will be the largest and most advanced in the Middle East to be certified by the UAE Civil Aviation Authority, the US’s Federal Aviation Administration, and the European Aviation Safety Agency. At the conversion center, passenger planes will be converted to cargo configuration, and maintenance, renovation and overhaul services will be supplied.
IAI president & CEO Boaz Levy said, "The Abraham Accords have given IAI the opportunity to expand its global activity to the Gulf region. IAI is active in over 100 countries across the world. Establishing the conversion site in partnership with Etihad Engineering is a testament to IAI’s strong ties with the UAE and strengthens its foothold in the region. I am confident that this agreement will lead to many more partnerships with local companies in the Gulf States, which will grow our business in the region."
IAI EVP and Aviation Group general manager Yossi Melamed said, "IAI’s Aviation Group, the world’s leading cargo conversion provider, has begun the structural modification of Boeing 777-300ERSF in cooperation with GECAS to provide a leading professional solution to the air cargo industry. Over many years, Etihad Engineering has received the highest professional regard from IAI’s Aviation Group. The Abraham Accords have enabled us to meet the company’s managers firsthand, to see their ability and dedication, in addition to witnessing the company’s great capabilities in the field of jet maintenance. The agreement we signed adds a significant tier to the relations between Israel and the Gulf States. I have no doubt that following this agreement, additional agreements with companies in the region will arrive, and they will economically benefit all sides involved."
Etihad Aviation Group CEO Tony Douglas said, "The Boeing 777-300ERSF is not only extremely attractive to customers but a technological breakthrough, given that it’s the first in its size category to offer extensive cargo solutions. Not only do we see the demand, but we view it as a greener, more profitable, highly innovative solution for our airline customers, and an excellent way to drive value for our business."
Etihad Engineering CEO Abdul Khaliq Saeed said, "We are delighted to announce our partnership with IAI which maximizes the potential of our highly skilled workforce and reinforces Etihad Engineering’s position as a center of excellence in Abu Dhabi in line with Abu Dhabi’s economic vision 2030. 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."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on August 25, 2021
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