Israel Aerospace Industries has conducted the maiden flight of its Boeing 777-300ER converted freighter, the first such sortie of the variant after cargo modification.

It departed Tel Aviv’s runway 30 just before 09:00 on 24 March, to perform nearly 2h of flight tests over the Mediterranean Sea.

IAI undertook the conversion programme in partnership with GECAS – since absorbed into lessor AerCap – using an ex-Emirates aircraft originally delivered to the carrier in 2005.

777-300ERSF first flight-c-IAI

Source: IAI

IAI’s ‘Big Twin’ converted freighter lifts off from Tel Aviv Ben Gurion airport

US cargo operator Kalitta Air is the first customer for the IAI-modified twinjet, which is designated the 777-300ERSF.

IAI says it is “in the final stages” of certification for the aircraft – which it calls the ‘Big Twin’ – adding that it has a firm backlog of more than 60 which will be delivered over the next five years.

The aircraft will be capable of transporting a payload of 100t.

It becomes the latest addition to an IAI cargo modification portfolio which also includes 747-400s, 767-200/300s and 737-700/800s.

IAI is setting up a number of conversion facilities to support production of freighters and complement its original line.