Israel Aerospace Industries announced on Monday that it had signed an agreement to convert four B777-300ER passenger aircraft into cargo planes for the Emirates airline.

The aircraft will be converted at a new site established at the Etihad Engineering’s Maintenance, Repair and Operations center in Abu Dhabi, said the statement.

“The first conversion of the Emirates plane is expected to begin in early 2023,” said IAI. “The agreement has the potential to provide passenger-to-freighter conversion services to more aircraft.”

Dubai-based Emirates is the largest operator of B777-300ER aircraft in the world, and Emirates SkyCargo is a leading player in the global air-cargo industry.

“This agreement between IAI—the global leader in the cargo conversion industry—and the cargo division of Emirates is a testament to the strong ties between IAI and the UAE,” said IAI.

It is currently converting a  B777-300ER aircraft, together with GECAS (GE Capital Aviation Services), “to provide the most optimal solution for the rise in e-commerce,” said Levy. “Emirates’ decision to select IAI for the conversion of its passenger aircraft to cargo configuration is a testament to IAI’s professional capabilities and [its] longstanding international recognition in the field.”

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline & Group, said in a statement: “The last two years have put the spotlight on the importance of supply-chain connectivity and the availability of air-cargo capacity to global communities and economies. Emirates plays a key role in making essential goods available to customers and consumers globally through the capacity available on our wide-body fleet, the reach of our global network and the advanced infrastructure at our Dubai hub.

“We are delighted to announce an investment to further expand our freighter capacity,” he continued. “This underscores our commitment to supporting our customers’ requirements, and reflects our confidence in our future growth and status as one of the largest airline cargo carriers in the world.”

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