While the after-effects of the world economic crisis are still obvious in the hangars of the Bedek division of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the company is not waiting for them to completely fade.
Until the big hangars are once again full with aircraft to be converted to carry cargo, the division decided to go into the aircraft modification business. This move is an effort to balance the decrease in the volume of conversion work.
Since 2011 the conversion work performed by Bedek has been at an all time low, as a result of the world economic crisis. “Today we still feel the after-effects of the world economic crisis, but we can see some signs of recovery,” a company source says.
According to the source 2014 will bring new 767 conversions – this line was one of the busiest before the sharp decrease in 2011. Currently the division is performing a conversion on just one 767.
The company’s entrance into the modifications market is described as a step to get work until the conversion market picks up – but it may yet develop into another meaningful source of income.
The source says the modifications will include all types of changes to commercial aircraft. One such option is work on Boeing 737NGs to bring them to the 737 Max standard.
The 737 Max is a family of aircraft being developed by Boeing. It will be based on the Boeing 737 Next Generation family.
The primary change is the use of larger and more efficient CFM International LEAP-1B engines. The airframe will receive some modifications as well. The 737 Max is scheduled for first delivery in 2017.
Bedek has completed a feasibility study into the conversion of Boeing 777s from passenger to cargo configuration. The division is using a 777-200 ER for evaluation and testing.
The division has performed conversions on 30 747-200s, 60 767-200s and 11 767-300s thus far.