Work set to start on converting the first B777 into a freighter

By Damian Brett

The physical work on converting the first Boeing 777-300 into a freighter will soon get underway after the halfway phase of the Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) development was reached.

Gecas and IAI, which are partners on the programme, said the halfway stage of the STC is a key milestone for “the Big Twin” passenger-to-freighter conversion programme as it now moves beyond planning into the phase of physically modifying the aircraft.

The partners said that after extensive planning and preparation, the STC Development Programme has already completed the critical design review (CDR) and subsequent design freeze of the B777-300ERSF.

Rich Greener, senior vice president and manager of Gecas Cargo, said: “We’ve begun executing on the dedicated freighter design developed by the IAI and Gecas Cargo team towards manufacturing the kits, and the actual conversion phase under a licensing from Boeing.” 

“The Big Twin is scheduled to be officially inducted into the IAI 777-300ER P2F Line 1 in Tel Aviv to commence the Prototype Conversion towards end of June 2021,” added Yosef Melamed, IAI executive vice president and general manager of aviation group.

The prototype 777-300ER (MSN 32789) was delivered to IAI’s facility in Tel Aviv by Gecas in June of last year — a full six months ahead of the initial timeline.

Since delivery, ground and flight tests have been completed as the prototype aircraft travelled between Tel Aviv and the US. The aircraft has now returned to Tel Aviv to enter its pre-conversion preparation phase.

Meanwhile, in October, it was announced that Kalitta Air would become the first operator of the aircraft.

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