Israel Aircraft Industries today signed an agreement with leasing group Avolon to convent 30 Airbus A330-300s from passenger-to-freighter configuration. The conversions will be done between 2025 and 2028, filling the continuing need for cargo aircraft as projections call for significant growth in cargo aircraft traffic.
Avolon will “fully take part in the aircraft conversion and licensing process,” IAI reported, and is the launch customer for the A330-300 passenger-to-freighter conversion. Through June, the Avolon fleet numbered 837 aircraft including some 200 of the A330 widebodies.
As a cargo aircraft, the A330-300 will offer up to 27 main deck pallet positions, four more than the A330-200P2F offered by Airbus and ST Engineering.
"For the second time in recent years, IAI's Aviation Group is making history,” said IAI president and CEO Boaz Levy. “Just two years ago we announced that we will be the first in the world to perform a passenger-to-freighter conversion on the B777-300ER, and today we are announcing that we will perform the first cargo conversion for the Airbus A330-300.”
“We have identified IAI as a long-time global leader in the aircraft conversion business and the right partner for Avolon to capitalize on the unparalleled growth in e-commerce,” said Avolon CEO Dómhnal Slattery. “The global air freight market is worth over $150 billion annually today and the sector is transforming, with air cargo traffic expected to double over the next 20 years. This partnership with IAI signals Avolon’s intention to be a leading player in the expansion of the cargo aircraft industry."
Also on October 4, Ireland-based Avolon announced it has increased its revolving finance facility by $1.1 billion to $4.3 billion and extended the maturity date for this loan from 2024 to 2026. It also extended $2 billion in unsecured note maturities to 2027.
In September, Avolon announced a deal with Brazilian airline Gol and Grupo Comporte under which these companies will lease or buy up to 250 of Vertical Aerospace's VA-X4 eVTOL aircraft. Avolon is an investor in UK-based Vertical and one of the launch customers for its four-passenger vehicles.