The making of the Big Twin freighter begins
GE Capital Aviation Services or GECAS recently delivered the first Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft to Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for the prototype passenger-to-freighter conversion for “The Big Twin” programme announced last October. Registered as OE-IHW and now owned by GECAS, the aircraft MSN 32789, ferried from Dubai to Tel Aviv, has been previously operated by Emirates as A6-EBB.
It appears that the Covid-19 pandemic has advanced the programme by at least six months. The aircraft was originally scheduled to be delivered to IAI in December 2020 with certification and service entry scheduled for late 2022. Once the line is up and running, according to GECAS, conversion time will average four to five months per aircraft. As of now IAI plans to open for the GECAS work with three lines of 777 conversions. But IAI will consider opening more lines depending on market demands.
The first B777-300ER passenger aircraft for conversion arrives in Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel
“The arrival of the prototype aircraft in Tel Aviv is an exciting milestone for the ‘Big Twin’ freighter programme,” said Richard Greener, senior vice president and manager of GECAS Cargo. “This aircraft sets out to meet requirements of the air cargo industry for the next 20 years.”
At the IAI facility in Lod near Tel Aviv airport, the aircraft will undergo an extensive conversion including the addition of the main deck cargo Door, freighter lining, window plugs, a modified crew compartment, a reinforced fuselage, a 9G rigid cargo barrier and more.
GECAS owned but previously Emirates operated B777-300ER takes off from Dubai and lands in Tel Aviv
Setting a new benchmark for cargo operators, “The Big Twin” will be powered by GE90 engines — the world’s most powerful in-service engine — giving the B777-300ER Special Freighter (SF) 21 percent lower fuel burn per tonne than the B747-400F. Complimenting the B777-200LRF, the 777-300ERSF shares extensive commonality with the smaller twin production freighter.
“We’re dubbing the B-777-300ERSF the ‘Big Twin’ as it is larger than the factory freighter,” said Greener, while launching the programme last year. The 777-300ERSF will be the largest ever twin-engine freighter.
According to GECAS 300ERSF has 47 standard 96 x 125in [2.4 x 3.2m] pallet positions in total. This means that overall it has 10 more positions that a 777-200LRF production freighter or 5,800cb ft [164cb m] more volume. It also has eight more positions than a factory B747-400F.
The B777-300ERSF’s maximum structural payload of 101.6 tonnes and greater volume than the B777 production freighter mean it is optimised for the lower cargo densities of the e-commerce and express operators rather than the traditional general freight operators. GECAS also argues that with the cargo density of around 7.5-8lb/cu ft, the B777-300ERSF can carry 20 tonnes more than a B777F, at 50 percent of the cost.
As launch customer and co-owner of the programme, GECAS has committed fifteen firm orders and has fifteen additional options for the type. While launching the programme, GECAS forecasted that “The Big Twin” could secure more than 150 orders up to 2030. And this becomes the first after-market cargo modification launched for the B-777 family.
Boeing produces the new-build all-cargo 777F, which is based on the shorter-fuselage 200LR platform. The production freighter is considers to be the most efficient freighter operated in the world today.
B777-300ERSF sets a new benchmark for cargo operators
The decision by GECAS and IAI to launch a Boeing 777-300ERSF passenger-to-freighter conversion programme is turning out to be more and more prescient as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to hit hard international long-haul passenger aviation. Several wide-body aircraft are grounded and there are airlines deciding to retire some of their B-777 aircraft much earlier than they had originally planned. This would mean that this very popular wide-body fleet may be ready for freighter conversion programmes.
IAI is eager to look at converting B777-300ERs of other owners as well. The programme will also see IAI enter into conversion agreements for the 777-300ERSF directly with airlines as well as other lessors around the world.
With the B767 nearing its end of life and the MD11 is being phased out, IAI hopes that the new conversion programme platform could be the future for the next two decades. The market opportunity seems ample. Since 2004, Boeing has delivered well over 800 777-300ERs, with Emirates Airlines operating the largest fleet of the type. Conversions programmes for wide-body are offered only by IAI and Boeing while others concentrate on the narrow-body aircraft.
Could this passenger to freighter converted aircraft offer a suitable option to the existing freighters in operation? Many in the industry see this as a profitable tool for airlines and their bottom lines.
This feature was originally published in June 2020 issue of The STAT Trade Times
You may also like:-
Worldwide yield/rate has been stable for three weeks in a row (USD 2.83 per kg in week 38)
The remains were reinterred Sunday, September 13, in the Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, with tribal leaders in attendance.
The shipment, which was the largest donation received from private industry, included 12,500 isolation gowns, 100,000 N95 masks and 400,000 surgical masks.
Otávio joined LATAM Airlines Group in 2015, initially working in cargo planning and commercial areas but since 2019, he was LATAM Cargo Brazil’s Operations vice president.
The large amount of high dense engineering goods, destined for Europe & North America, that made the difference on weight.
The CMA CGM Group investment will result from the combination of a subscription to a capital increase for an amount of 50 million euros and the acquisition of shares.
IATA’s director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said that when the AGM was postponed from June to November, they hoped that government restrictions on travel would be eased but that is now unlikely.
The addition of the five points will expand the Emirates' global network to 92 destinations, as the airline gradually resumes its operations while prioritising the safety of its customers, crew and the communities it serves around the world.
Edmonton International Airport (EIA) has partnered with GLC Medical, a subsidiary of Graphene Leaders Canada (GLC), to host clinical trials of a new technology for Covid-19 testing that can produce results in seconds.
While Astral Aviation will be a new Full Member, Bombelli Airport Equipment will come on board as an Associate Partner.
Continuing its technological investments, the software reduces the error rate at its business processes as well as the costs while improving the employee productivity among other aspects
SEOSAT-Ingenio is the first Spanish satellite with optical technology, developed primarily by the Spanish space industry led by Airbus in Spain as the prime contractor.
Weekly direct flights will depart from Shanghai (PVG) every Monday and from Amsterdam (AMS) each Sunday to service for a post-COVID resurgence in demand during what is traditionally a fourth quarter peak season.