BedekAviation Group is strengthening its relationship with two Chinese companies to cater better for its growing freighter conversion business. The company is the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) subsidiary of Israeli Aerospace Industries, and a sizeable slice of its revenues come from its passenger-to-freighter conversion line, which it says has grown in 2010 over 2009.
IAI’scommercial section accounts for 30 percent of the Israeli airframer’s market, while its conversion entity takes up 40 percent of that. Bedek services both wide- and narrowbody airliners including Airbus, Boeing and McDonnell Douglas types.
“We need to manufacture a special kit in order to covert the aircraft, and can change many different types, such as the Boeing 747 series. We can also do refueler and medevac configurations,” Eliezer Hattem, corporate vice president and general manager, told AIN.
According to Hattem, building the kit is what slows up the production process, so outsourcing it to Chinese companies makes economic sense. He declined to reveal the names of the two companies Bedek is working with.
The majority of its customers are U.S. leasing companies and Hattem reckons Bedek can work on up to 15 aircraft in its hangars over a year. On average, a passenger-to-freighter conversion takes 120 days. There are six 747s and eight 767s in process for the 2011-2112 time frame.
“If the market behaves itself, I’m hoping our core business will grow over the next five years,” Hattem said.