ARIZONA – Marana Aerospace Solutions (Ascent Aviation Services) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) have signed a long-term agreement to establish a conversion site and perform passenger-to-freighter conversion of Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
Under the collaboration agreement, IAI plans for Ascent to convert two lines of Boeing B777-300ER aircraft, beginning in 2024 at Ascent’s facility located in Marana, Arizona.
In order to support the program, Ascent will build two new widebody hangars and pre-construction work has already begun, the Arizona Commerce Authority reported. The work is expected to be completed prior to aircraft induction.
IAI’s Aviation Group recently successfully completed the first test flight of a B777-300ERSF after it underwent a passenger-to-freight conversion, the first of its kind in the world. At the same time, IAI is in the final stages of the certification process and is expected to receive CAAI and FAA STC within 2023.
The Arizona Commerce Authority stressed that there is a need to establish remote passenger-to-freighter conversion sites around the world due to the expected demand for wide-body cargo aircraft capable of long-haul flights, such as the B777-300ER, which after conversion will be able to carry payloads of up to 100 tons.
According to analyst reports, the combination of these capabilities, with the significant fuel savings the aircraft will enable, will make it one of the world’s most popular freighter aircraft. The 777-300ER will join IAI’s family of converted aircraft, which currently includes the Boeing 747, 767 and 737 NG and the A330-300 under development.
“Ascent is pleased to embark on this long-term partnership with IAI over the course of this fifteen-year agreement. We look forward to beginning with the construction of our hangar and bringing dozens of aircraft to Arizona to support the required maintenance and modification services. This long-term collaborative agreement will bring lasting growth to the Tucson aviation community,” said David Querio, president and CEO of Ascent Aviation Services.
Querio noted that with the expansion, the company’s presence in Marana will be expanded to hangar capacity for up to three wide-body aircraft.
“The advanced capabilities and efficient solutions IAI offers its customers provide the best value solution available in the marketplace, supporting the growing demand for cargo aircraft worldwide,” said Boaz Levy, president and CEO of IAI.