Israel Aircraft Industries' Bedek Aviation Group and Italy's Aeronavali are squaring up in the Boeing 767 passenger-to-freighter (PTF) conversion market, following the latter's signing of an exclusive licensing deal with Boeing.

The Alenia Aeronautica/Finmeccanica division announced the deal to use the Boeing amended type certificate for 767 conversions last week in Seattle. The initial agreement covers the 767-200, but this is expected to be broadened to cover the -300, for which the major market is anticipated. "We are talking to several potential launch customers about -200 conversions," says Aeronavali commercial director Gianni Tritto.

According to industry sources, Miami-based Boeing 727 freight operator Capital Cargo International Airlines is a leading candidate to launch the programme. Certification of the first Aeronavali 767-200 conversion and delivery to the launch customer is expected by mid-2005, says Tritto.

IAI launched its 767-200 conversion in 2001, with orders from Airborne Express and GE Capital Aviation Services. Bedek's director of marketing and business development Josh Oren says that modification of the first aircraft is expected to be completed by early January, with certification and delivery to Airborne due by the end of the first quarter. "We have general terms agreement with a customer for the first 767-300 [PTF] conversion, which should be finalised early next year," says Oren.

Source: Flight International