The Bedek division of Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) and Zeevi, the Israeli-based group that is a major shareholder in Balkan Bulgarian Airlines, have joined forces to open a narrowbody aircraft conversion facility at Bulgaria's Sofia Airport.

According to David Arzi, IAI's corporate vice-president and general manager of Bedek, a joint company known as Balkan Industries will manage the operation in two hangars at the Bulgarian airport. The hangars have three bays between them.

"This facility is part of our strategy to increase conversion operations all over the world," says Arzi. Widebody conversions will continue to be performed in Bedek's main facilities at Ben-Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, but narrowbody work is to be parceled out between three foreign facilities owned by Bedek at Eurolair in Paris, Commodore Aviation in Miami and Balkan Industries, Sofia.

The new company is expected to start operations within the next two months. The initial work, supervised and managed by staff provided by Bedek will involve Boeing 757 conversions,but the new company also has plans to undertake work on 737s.

Bedek's conversion and maintenance work generates more than a quarter of IAI's annual turnover and it is planning to raise this total still further as it aims for a share of the world conversion market approaching 30%.

Source: Flight International