Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced on April 6 that it has been certified by the US Federal Aviation Administration and the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel to convert Boeing's 737-800 passenger aircraft into a cargo jet.
IAI, Israel's largest aerospace and defense company, is the only company to convert both the 737-700 and the 737-800 of Boeing into a cargo configuration. IAI's Aviation Group has already delivered the first two converted B737-800 aircraft.
With the COVID-19 crisis forcing many airlines into halting passenger service, the demand for cargo flights, which are crucial for the delivery of medical supplies, food, and other necessary equipment, has been rising.
The Aviation Group was founded in January 2019 when all of IAI's activities involving manned aircraft, both military and civilian, were consolidated into a single business unit. It is one of the few business operations in the world that specializes in converting passenger aircraft into cargo configurations. The Group handles both wide-body and narrow-body aircraft, which are operated by some of the world’s largest shipping companies such as Amazon and DHL.
Yossi Melamed, IAI's EVP and general manager of the Aviation Group, said, “IAI is excited to receive the FAA’s certification for converting B737-800s, and we thank both the FAA and the CAAI. We have witnessed increased demand for cargo aircraft in recent years."
"Being able to convert additional models will help us meet the demand. I would like to thank our partners at the Haite Group in China for their trust in IAI. In addition, IAI sends our best wishes to all airlines impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, and hope they will resume all their flights soon."
According to the company, IAI specializes in developing and manufacturing advanced, state-of-the-art systems for air, space, sea, land, cyber and homeland security. It provides advanced technology solutions to government and commercial customers worldwide, designs and manufactures business jets and aerostructures, performs overhaul and maintenance on commercial aircraft, and converts passenger aircraft to refueling and cargo configurations.