Ethiopian Airlines, IAI Complete Conversion of Africa’s First 767 Boeing Converted Freighter

Ethiopian Airlines will soon put into service its first 767-300BDSF (BEDEK Special Freighter) and the first freighter to be converted with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) at the Ethiopian Airlines’ maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in Addis Ababa.

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According to Cargo Facts, the 18-year-old aircraft with serial number 33768, which was previously in passenger service with the airline and had been at ADD since September 2021, has now completed the conversion process. The aircraft conducted a test flight on Sept. 19. It will be followed by two other jets of the same model, with serial numbers 33767 and 33769 and an average age of 17 years. The aircraft will be used by the Ethiopian carrier to expand its cargo capacity.

The 767-300BDSF is the third freighter type to join Ethiopian’s fleet. However, the airline has signed a memorandum of understanding for five of Boeing’s 777-8Fs, becoming the second known customer of the type.

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IAI is the world’s leader in passenger to cargo conversions of the Boeing 767, 737 and 747 aircraft, with lines in Israel and Mexico, while its Abu Dhabi site is expected to open in partnership with Etihad Engineering.

The 767-300BDSF is the advanced converted freighter type of the B767 family, offered by IAI as a follow-up to the successful Boeing 767-200BDSF. The company has delivered more than 100 converted 767-300 aircraft. Israel Aerospace Industries says that it transforms about 25 planes a year, up from 18 annually before the Covid-19 pandemic. The process takes about three months.

The state-owned Israeli company is also preparing to begin work on Boeing 777 conversions, for which it has partnered with AerCap, the world’s largest owner of commercial aircraft, requiring it to increase overall global capacity. IAI has also obtained certification for Airbus A330-300 conversion programs.

In addition to the 767-300BDSFs, Ethiopian Airlines recently took delivery of its first 737-800BCF, ordered five more 777Fs in addition to making headlines at the Farnborough International Airshow as one of the launch customers for De Havilland’s Dash 8-400 freighter conversion program.

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The airline is committed to increasing its current 777F fleet to as many as 14 frames, becoming one of the largest customers of that type.

Last month, Titan Aircraft Investments, the joint venture between Titan Aviation Holdings, Inc. and Bain Capital Credit, announced the placement of three 767-300ER converted freighters on long-term dry leases with Ethiopian Airlines.

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