IAI expands global aircraft conversion operations

By Arie Egozi

While working around the clock to support the Israel DefenCe Forces in the ongoing war with Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is rapidly advancing the company's international commercial aircraft operations. "We are on our way to becoming the world number one conversion center for commercial aircraft," Shmuel Kuzi, Exec VP & General Manager of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Aviation Group, told Defence Industry Europe in an exclusive interview.


Kuzi revealed that by mid-2024, the group will begin to operate three conversion centers – in the U.S., Abu Dhabi, and South Korea. “We plan to open two additional conversion facilities in foreign countries,” he said. He mentioned that the demand for the conversion of Boeing 777-300 from passenger to cargo configuration is at an all-time peak. “Our facility in Israel is full for the foreseeable future, and the three new conversion centers in other countries will allow us to handle this demand that is going to grow.”


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In parallel, the Aviation Group of IAI is working to start the conversion of the Airbus A330. “We also started to work on a program for the conversion of the Boeing 787. We do everything to be at least one step ahead of any competition. Our expertise allows us to work full volume on some major conversion programs in parallel.” The Aviation Group of IAI has been the major facility for the conversion of the Boeing 767. “Seven of ten Boeing 767s have been converted in our facilities.”

In May, IAI signed an agreement with Sharp Technics K (Sharp) and Incheon International Airport Corporation to establish a facility for the passenger-to-freight conversion of Boeing 777-ERSF (Big Twin) aircraft in South Korea. In September, IAI and Marana Aerospace Solutions, Inc., d/b/a Ascent Aviation Services announced they have signed a long-term agreement to establish a conversion site and carry out passenger-to-freighter conversions on Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. Within the framework of the collaboration agreement, IAI plans to have Ascent convert two lines of Boeing B777-300ER aircraft, starting in 2024 in Ascent’s facilities located in Marana, Arizona, USA.


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The Aviation Group of IAI is also very active in the fast supply of systems and spares for aircraft of many airlines around the world. “This year, the turnover of this part of our activity, supplying systems and spare parts, will total 45 million U.S. dollars,” Kuzi revealed that the group plans to open two centers for the fast supply of spare systems and parts for civil aircraft in foreign countries to shorten the delivery time. Two places are being evaluated now – the U.S. and South America.

IAI’s President and CEO, Boaz Levy, said, “IAI supports the IDF and the Israeli defense community, while continuing to deliver top-quality service and supplies to our partners worldwide. Our partnership with Aercap brings global advanced capabilities, efficient solutions, and excellent service for the growing demand for cargo aircraft. The first showing of the B777-300ER at Dubai Air Show, the agreement recently signed to convert four B777-300ER aircraft from passenger to cargo configurations for Emirates, and establishing a new site in Etihad Engineering’s MRO center in Abu Dhabi, express the strong relationship with our partners in the region.”



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