IAI delivers first converted B737-700 cargo aircraft to Chinese airline 

The company now offers conversion of such aircraft to meet growing demand for cargo flights

Photo: IAI

Israel Aerospace Industries said Thursday that its Aviation Group has delivered the first passenger-to-cargo converted Boeing 737-700 to China's Tianjin Cargo Airlines, which will become the first operator of this type of aircraft in China. 

The conversion work was carried out at the Tianjin MRO facility under a partnership agreement with IAI and Haite Group for developing the B737-700 and B737-800 STC. The two companies have been working together since 2017 to meet the increasing demand for cargo aircraft in China and around the world.

The Aviation Group is one of the only companies in the world that offers specialized conversions and certification of passenger aircraft into cargo configurations.  The group has over 40 years of experience in this area and serves major cargo shippers such as Amazon, UPS and DHL.

Yossi Melamed, IAI’s Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Aviation Group, said, “IAI’s Aviation Group has been leading the passenger-to-cargo aircraft conversion market for 40 years. We are committed to developing the next generation of cargo aircraft conversions ahead of the competition. The delivery of the first New Generation B737-700 to the Chinese operator is a significant milestone in our relationship with the Haite Group. I am confident that together we will lead the aircraft conversion market in China and around the world.”

With the rise of e-commerce and the resulting higher demand for cargo aircraft, together with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, cargo aircraft have become the lifeblood of the Chinese economy. In recent years, most narrow-body cargo aircraft were based on the classic Boeing 737 family, particularly the 737-400. As the classic models are nearing the end of their lifecycle, they are being replaced by the Boeing B737-700/800 models. These aircraft provide improved performance, avionics, and fuel consumption, IAI said.