The IAI’s Bedek division: a new contract, and hopes for more

The Bedek division, Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) largest civil operation, has recently signed a five-year maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) agreement with Air Canada to fulfill the airline’s heavy maintenance requirements of its Boeing 767 fleet.

This contract made many people at the Bedek division smile. At a time when the hangars of the division are not full to their limits, the contract has also symbolic value in addition to its financial one.

Eli Hattem, IAI’s executive vice-president and the general manager of IAI’s Bedek Aviation Group, said on March 25 that Air Canada had chosen the Bedek division because of its wide experience.

Alan Butterfield, Air Canada’s vice-president, maintenance and engineering, said that the contract assures Air Canada of a quality solution for its 767 maintenance needs through IAI Bedek’s extensive and proven capabilities in this field.

The Bedek division will perform all the required maintenance at its facilities at Ben Gurion International Airport, Israel.

The  division has wide experience of the maintenance of 767s and their conversions and to date has performed conversions on 30 747-200s, 60 767-200s and 11 767-300s.

Many factors have affected the Bedek group’s business volume in recent years. Conversion work was once a major source of its business, but this side of the division’s operation reached a low point in 2011.

This was 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 said.

According to the source, 2014 will bring new 767 conversions; currently the division is performing a conversion on 0ne 767.

To compensate for the dramatic decrease in conversions, the Bedek division has decided to go into the aircraft modification business in addition to its MRO operations.

The source said that the modifications will include all types of changes to commercial aircraft. One option is to do work on the Boeing 737NG to bring them to the 737 MAX standard.

The primary change is the use of the larger and more efficient CFM International LEAP-1B engines. The airframe is to receive some modifications as well. The 737 MAX is scheduled for first delivery in 2017.

The Bedek division has also completed a feasibility study of the conversion of Boeing 777 from passenger to cargo configuration using a 777-200 ER for evaluation and testing.

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