Israel Aerospace Industries also wants to install a narrowbody freighter conversion line in Europe

Romain Guillot
le 23/03/2021 , Maintenance aéronautique
A battle to convert single-aisle passenger aircraft to full freighters begins in Europe. The Aviation branch of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Lithuanian start-up Aviatic MRO UAB aimed at setting up a maintenance center International Airport (IATA / ICAO : SQQ / EYSA), in the north of the country, today better known for its air base and in particular for the NATO's Baltic Air Policing missions.

The Lithuanian company already offers CAMO services as well as parking services and technical support on the airport, having for example won contracts with Getjet Airlines and World Star Aviation for their 737s and A320s last year. But this time, Aviatic MRO wants to go further and to continue its project to set up a real MRO center on site. The cooperation project with IAI now makes this initiative possible.

The new maintenance center should enter service in June 2022 thanks to an innovative hangar that will allow the execution of all types of MRO work immediately after its opening. According to IAI, the Aviatic MRO facilities will of course provide maintenance and overhaul services, but will also be able to convert Boeing 737NG family passenger aircraft to full freighters, as well as the training, certification, and licensing of personnel.

While Aviatic will run the maintenance center and will support the interaction with the Lithuanian regulators, including planning and infrastructure development., it is obviously understandable that the Aviation branch of IAI, formerly Bedek, will bring its know-how in the modification of the 737s and in particular the STCs that it has already developed for the 737-700 and especially for the 737-800. A similar agreement had been set up in China with Haite Group for Tianjin MRO for example.

"We are glad that IAI has trusted the high-quality specialists, strategically convenient location of Siauliai International Airport and prospects of future growth - the features we offer at Aviatic MRO. This is a big achievement to Lithuania's sector of aviation and a special acknowledgment of the effort we have already dedicated to this project and can only hope that this partnership will only grow stronger in the near future. In the meantime, we are preparing the needed infrastructure at SQQ" said Dmitrij Cheliadin, Aviatic MRO Board Member, in a press release.

Construction of the new hangar is expected to start next month. It will be abble to accommodate up to 6 narrowbody aircraft simultaneously.

As a reminder, Franco-Luxembourgish company Vallair announced on March 8 that it would occupy the future giant hangar at Marcel Dassault international airport in Châteauroux, France, to install an Airbus A321 conversion line.

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