Ethiopian completes its first Boeing B767 freighter conversion

By Rebecca Jeffrey

(L) Yossi Melamed, IAI, and Tewolde GebreMariam, Ethiopian Airlines. Source: Ethiopian Airlines Group

Ethiopian Airlines Group said it has become the first African airline to complete the passenger-to-freighter conversion of a B767 aircraft.

Ethiopian partnered with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to launch a B767-300ER freighter conversion line at Ethiopian MRO facilities in Addis Ababa last year.

The conversion of the aircraft, the first of the airline’s three B767 aircraft due to be converted, will boost Ethiopian’s cargo shipment capacity.

In partnership with IAI, Ethiopian started the full conversion of the B767 aircraft early this year.

Meanwhile, the conversion of the second aircraft has reached an essential stage of door cutting and will be completed in few months.

Ethiopian Airlines Group chief executive Mesfin Tasew said: “We are thrilled to collaborate with Israel Aerospace Industries and become the first African carrier to successfully complete the passenger-to-cargo conversion of B767 aircraft.

“As a fast-growing airline, our partnership with IAI, one of the global technology leaders in the Aerospace industry, is crucial in technology and skill transfer in the field of maintenance, repair and overhaul.

“Ethiopian Airlines is committed to get closer to its customers with high-quality cargo services. In addition to our latest freighter fleets, the converted B767 aircraft will augment our growing local and international cargo destinations with more load capacities.

“We have been working to expand our cargo operation as demand is expected to grow with the establishment of e-commerce hub in Addis Ababa. “

After the start of the Covid pandemic, Ethiopian temporarily converted around 25 of its widebody passenger aircraft into freighters using its in-house MRO capability.

The initiative boosted its cargo operations and enabled it to transport around 1bn doses of the Covid-19 vaccine worldwide.

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