Incheon airport becomes Israel Aerospace Industries' 1st overseas aircraft conversion partner - Korea Times
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Incheon airport becomes Israel Aerospace Industries' 1st overseas aircraft conversion partner

Incheon International Airport Corp. President and CEO Kim Kyung-wook, center, holds a memorandum of agreement with Yossi Melamed, right, general manager of the aviation group of Israel Aerospace Industries, and Paik Soon-suk, CEO and president of Sharp Technics K, during a signing ceremony at Paradise City in Incheon, Tuesday. Courtesy of Incheon International Airport Corp.
Incheon International Airport Corp. President and CEO Kim Kyung-wook, center, holds a memorandum of agreement with Yossi Melamed, right, general manager of the aviation group of Israel Aerospace Industries, and Paik Soon-suk, CEO and president of Sharp Technics K, during a signing ceremony at Paradise City in Incheon, Tuesday. Courtesy of Incheon International Airport Corp.

By Jun Ji-hye

Incheon International Airport, Korea's main travel gateway, has been selected as the first overseas production base of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to convert wide-body passenger planes to freighters, beating competitors in China and India.

Incheon International Airport Corp. (IIAC), the airport's operator, signed a memorandum of agreement in Incheon, Tuesday, with IAI, Israel's major aerospace company, and Sharp Technics K, Korea's aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services provider.

A Boeing 777-ERSF jet / Courtesy of Incheon International Airport Corp.
A Boeing 777-ERSF jet / Courtesy of Incheon International Airport Corp.
Under the agreement, IAI will establish a facility specializing in converting the Boeing 777-ERSF passenger plane, dubbed the "Big Twin," into a freighter, together with IIAC and Sharp Technics K, in a bid to meet the expected increase in demand for wide-body freighter aircraft with long-haul capacity. The conversion is set to begin in 2024.

The airport operator will be in charge of constructing necessary infrastructure, such as a hangar, while IAI and Sharp Technics K will set up a joint venture to handle the conversion.

IIAC said the amount of exports to be accumulated from 2024 to 2040 is expected to reach about 1 trillion won ($892 million), and the business is expected to generate more than 2,100 jobs.

In addition, advanced technologies to convert passenger planes to freighters will be transferred to Sharp Technics K, which will help the domestic MRO industry raise its competitive edge.

"We've attracted the first overseas production base for large-sized cargo aircraft from IAI, which possesses exclusive technology for retrofitting Boeing's large passenger aircraft. Through the deal, we will grow together and contribute greatly to the development of the national and regional economy," IIAC President and CEO Kim Kyung-wook said.

"Based on the world-class air transportation infrastructure of Incheon International Airport, we will continue to attract world-class aviation MRO companies."


Jun Ji-hye jjh@koreatimes.co.kr


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