Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Marana Aerospace Solutions, doing business as Ascent Aviation Services (Ascent), have officially entered into a long-term collaboration aimed at establishing a conversion facility dedicated to transforming Boeing 777-300ER passenger planes into freighters. Under this comprehensive agreement, IAI is slated to oversee the conversion of two lines of Boeing B777-300ER aircraft, commencing in 2024 at Ascent’s facilities located in Marana, Arizona, U.S.A. To facilitate this initiative, Ascent is currently in the process of constructing two new expansive hangars, with pre-construction activities already underway. Completion of both hangars is anticipated before the induction of the aircraft.
IAI’s Aviation Group recently achieved a significant milestone by successfully conducting the inaugural test flight of a B777-300ERSF, marking the first passenger-to-cargo conversion of its kind. Simultaneously, IAI is in the advanced stages of securing certification from both the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) by the end of 2023.
In response to the surging demand for wide-body freighter aircraft equipped for long-haul journeys, such as the B777-300ER, the establishment of remote passenger-to-freighter conversion sites across the globe has become imperative. These converted aircraft will boast the capacity to transport payloads of up to 100 tonnes, coupled with substantial fuel efficiency gains, potentially propelling them to become one of the world’s most sought-after freighter aircraft. The 777-300ER will be a noteworthy addition to IAI’s portfolio of converted aircraft, which already includes the Boeing 747, 767, 737 NG and an ongoing project for the A330-300.