Ethiopian Airlines has contracted Precision Conversions for a Boeing 757-200 passenger converted freighter (PCF), as part of the African carrier’s larger effort to enhance its cargo business.

The leased Pratt & Whitney PW2040-powered 757 passenger aircraft will be withdrawn from Ethiopian’s active fleet and enter passenger-to-freighter conversion on 7 May at Goodrich’s aviation technical service facility in Everett, Washington, says Precision Conversions.

“Upon reviewing the Ethiopian Cargo requirements, we believe the Precision Conversions 757-200PCF will be an excellent addition to its fleet because it is the only 757 conversion on the market that can achieve both 15 full pallet positions and a 30t net payload,” says Precision Conversions vice president of marketing and sales Brian McCarthy.

According to the Flight fleet database ACAS, Ethiopian currently operates six 757-200 passenger aircraft and one 757-200PF (package freighter).

The carrier in March 2005 said it would convert three 757s into freighters under a plan to expand operations at its Ethiopian Cargo unit, including opening a new cargo terminal at its Addis Ababa hub. At that time, however, Ethiopian did not give a timeline for the conversions, and withheld information on which company would perform the conversion contract.

“We have definitely been awarded the conversion for [Ethiopian’s] first 757, and what we believe, and would like to think will be the first of three,” McCarthy says. He notes that the current contract contains a provision for a second 757 conversion, but “it’s an unspecified time and date option”.

Precision Conversions in June 2005 secured a supplemental type certificate for its 757-200PCF modification. Since then, the company has delivered four 757-200PCF freighters to various customers, including Icelandic freight carrier BlueBird Cargo and International Lease Finance (which leased the aircraft to Shanghai Airlines).

A fifth conversion, which is currently ongoing, is scheduled to be delivered mid-May, says the company.


Source: Flight International