Israel Aerospace Industries Wants To Convert Boeing 767s In Ethiopia

Israel Aerospace Industries will establish a new conversion site at Addis Ababa. The company will work with Ethiopian Airlines to convert three Boeing 767-300 passenger aircraft into freighters at the new site.

Israel Aerospace Industries Wants To Convert Boeing 767s In Ethiopia
Ethiopian Airlines and Israel Aerospace Industries will partner to open a new conversion site in Addis Ababa. Photo: Getty Images

The new site will be a part of the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) maintenance center based in Addis Ababa and is the company’s third conversion site. Currently, the group carries out conversions at locations in Mexico and the Ben Gurion International Airport.

IAI has signed a deal with Ethiopian Airlines to convert three Boeing 767-300s from passenger to freighter to meet increased cargo demands. Currently, the airline has nine Boeing 777F and three 737-800F for cargo operations. The new conversion center will be the largest of its kind in Africa.

In a statement, Yossi Melamed, IAI’s Executive VP and Aviation Group General Manager, said,

IAI has an excellent reputation as a conversion center of passenger-to-freighters aircraft, and we are constantly receiving requests to open such conversion centers in more and more locations around the world. I am excited by the opening of the current center in Ethiopia, and thank my colleagues in Ethiopian Airlines for the trust they have put in IAI’s Aviation Group, as the world’s leader in conversions.”

Israel Aerospace Industries Wants To Convert Boeing 767s In Ethiopia
Initially, the partnership will convert three 767 passenger aircraft into freighters, but the airline hopes the site will be used for more. Photo: IAI

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More than a conversion site

The new conversion site will be a part of Ethiopian’s largest Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) site.  It will help with the conversion of aircraft but, it will also provide enhanced MRO services, staff training, and certification and licensing.

By partnering with IAI, Ethiopian will also open the site to other airlines in Africa and beyond. It will offer conversion, maintenance, and training services. The new site will use cutting-edge technology to provide services and boost logistics. The first task will be the conversion of the three Boeing 767s however, the airline hopes the site will be used for various tasks in the future.

A statement from the airline confirmed that,

The cargo conversion center in ADD HUB airport will expand its services to all airlines in Africa and the wider region. We are very happy that we are able to collaborate with IAI to enable us to expand our cargo and logistics services, which is already the largest and leading cargo network in Africa. The capacity building will also help us expand our MRO services with cutting edge technology and knowledge transfer.”

Ethiopian Airlines
The airline has always had a strong focus on cargo operations. Photo: Ethiopian Airlines

Ethiopian airlines 2025 plan

The conversion of the three passenger aircraft is a part of the airline’s Diversified Aviation Business Model of Vision 2025. The airline wants to increase its cargo capacity and capitalize on the rise in demand for freight.

Cargo operations have also been a central part of the Ethiopian Airlines business model. It’s been the largest cargo fleet in Africa. The airline opened the brand-new Cargo Terminal II at Addis Ababa Airport back in 2017 to help boost ground operations. The new partnership with IAI proves that the airline is still committed to its freight operations.

What do you think of the new site? Is the airline right to continue focus on freight? We’d love to read your thoughts in the comments.