Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) Aviation Group signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA), with the Incheon International Airport and Sharp Technics, to establish a passenger to freighter (P-to-F) conversion site in South Korea.

The facility will specialise in P-to-F conversons for the Boeing 777-ERSF, “Big Twin” aircraft. In the framework of the agreement, IAI will convert six 777-300ER and 777-200LR per year, starting in 2024.

IAI will establish more P-to-F conversion facilities around the world in order to meet the expected rise in demand for wide-body freighter aircraft with capacity for long flights.

IAI’s Aviation Group is working around the clock during this time to prototype the 777 P2F conversion and is expected to conclude the licensing process during 2023. The 777-ERSF will represents the next generation of freighter aircraft, and will join a list of IAI P-to-F conversions that include the 747, 767, and 737NG.

Yossi Melamed, EVP and GM of the Aviation Group, IAI, said: “IAI’s Aviation Group is a world class leader in converting wide-body passenger aircraft to freighter, and manages conversion lines in Israel and around the world. Signing today with Incheon International Airport and Sharp is directly connected to IAI’s close cooperation with the South Korean aviation industry.”

Recently IAI has transferred production of business jet wings, main frame, and parts of the tail to Korean companies. Furthermore, Melamed explaines that he looks forward to expanding our strategic cooperation activities with South Korean companies and government authorities.

President Kim Kyung-wook of Incheon International Airport Corporation adds: “By attracting the first overseas production base of IAI’s large-sized cargo aircraft to the Incheon Airport MRO cluster, which exclusively possesses the technology for retrofitting Boeing’s large passenger aircraft, we will grow together and contribute greatly to the development of the national and regional economy.

Based on the world-class air transportation infrastructure of Incheon International Airport, Kyung-wook belives that it will continue to attract world-class aviation MRO companies to Incheon Airport.

CEO & President Soon-Suk Paik of Sharp Technics K said, “The conversion of cargo aircraft requires tremendous investment costs, advanced technology, international certifications, and skilled aviation maintenance personnel, which reflect the high barriers to entry in the MRO industry. Although STK is a private company, as a member of the aviation industry, we will do our best in the private sector with the vision of contributing to the development and national interests of the Korean aviation industry.”

IAI’s Aviation Group is a world-class freighter conversion facility and is responsible for maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO), jet airplanes, passenger into cargo conversions, avionic assemblies and aero-structures, avionics upgrades, and more.  The Aviation Group’s customers include Amazon, DHL, and FedEx.

The company has extensive operations in South Korea focused on aircraft and helicopter maintenance, airborne and ground-based radar systems, navigation and optronics systems and UAVs. Over the next few years, collaborations will also be expanded to mission aircraft, strategic UAVs and VTOL UAVs and roving and accurate armament systems.