Amid the global coronavirus pandemic and the struggling tourism and airline industries, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has managed to profit by converting unused passenger jets into cargo planes for companies like Amazon and DHL.

According to a report by the AP, the state-owned Israeli company created an assembly line that can convert an aircraft for $35 million, which is far less expensive than buying a new cargo plane for four or five times the price.

IAI converts about 25 planes a year, up from 18 before the pandemic. It is now competing with companies such as Boeing.

Company officials even say they have a backlog of orders for the next four years.

Shmuel Kuzi, executive vice president and general manager of its aviation division, said it’s in the process of converting Boeing 737s and larger 767s. Next year, it plans to start converting larger 777s at a new plant in Abu Dhabi.

Since the pandemic, the explosion of e-commerce accelerated the trend of online purchases and the need for more cargo planes.


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