ETHIOPIAN Airlines Group, has established a global standard cargo conversion program to convert the B-767-300 ER to dedicated freighter services in partnership agreement with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
Ethiopian Airlines Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, said, ‘’In line with our Diversified Aviation Business Model of Vision 2025, we have been increasing our cargo capacity in fleet, ground service infrastructure and cargo connectivity network. Accordingly, we are partnering with IAI, one of the global technology leaders in the Aerospace industry, in building a cargo conversion center in our MRO facilities in Addis Ababa Airport.
“The Cargo conversion center will commence its first business with three Ethiopian Airlines owned B-767-300 aircraft. The Cargo Conversion Center in Addis Ababa airport will expand its services to all airlines in Africa and the wider region. We are very happy that we are able to collaborate with IAI to enable us to expand our cargo and logistics services which is already the largest and leading cargo network in Africa. The capacity building will also help us expand our MRO services with cutting edge technology and knowledge transfer.”
IAI’s Executive VP and General Manager of Aviation Group, Yossi Melamed on his part said: “We are witnessing a sharp rise in the demand for cargo aircraft as a result of the rise in e commerce, which has peaked to record levels during the COVID-19 pandemic. IAI has an excellent reputation as a conversion center of passenger-to-freighters aircraft, and we are constantly receiving requests to open such conversion centers in more and more locations around the world.
“I am excited by the opening of the current center in Ethiopia and thank my colleagues in Ethiopian Airlines for the trust they have put in IAI’s Aviation Group, as the world’s leader in conversions.”
The new passenger-to-freighter conversion centre, which will operate from the Ethiopian MRO centre in Addis Ababa, will provide solutions for the rising demand for cargo aircraft of B767 models. The conversion line in Ethiopia will join existing conversion sites IAI operates at its campus in Ben Gurion International Airport and in Mexico.
It is to be recalled that Ethiopian MRO, with its internal capacity, temporarily converted 25 of its passenger aircraft to freighter to boost its cargo capacity as demand to transport emergency medical supplies soared.
Ethiopian Airlines also in the week announced that it would re-commence operations into Akanu Ibiam International Airport (AIIA) Enugu come September 15th 2021 with three flights every Monday Wednesday and Friday.
Ethiopian Airlines was the major carrier on the Addis-Enugu route till the airport runway was shut down in 2019 for extensive repairs which made it relocate to Port Harcourt International Airport and after that the Covid-19 lock down happened stopping all international entry to the airport.
With the reopening, the carrier is set to re-launch on the 15th of September with departure from Addis at 0850 and arrival in Enugu at 1150 and the aircraft set to depart Enugu at 1250 and arrive Addis at 1950 local times.