October 16, 2013
Credit: Kalitta Air
Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI’s) Bedek Aviation Group has signed licensing agreements with Boeing for the modifications related to 767-200/300 and 747-400 passenger-to-freighter conversions.
“This agreement is made for the benefit of our customers,” Jack Gaber, Senior Vice President for Marketing and Business Development at IAI Bedek told Aviation Week “They can now benefit from the services they were used to before the implementation of the ‘access fee’ policy”. The new deal pertains to the higher access fee charged by Boeing for providing technical data supporting non-Boeing Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) conversions. Bedek customers will now be charged the normal access fee.
The agreement between IAI and Boeing applies to 72 767-200/300 aircraft and 29 747-400 aircraft previously converted by IAI for various customers, as well as to future IAI conversions.
Each of the conversions received STC approval from the FAA obtained independently by Bedek, without the involvement of Boeing.
In April 2009, Boeing began charging operators of converted freighters additional “access fees” of $50,000-$250,000 per aircraft, to allow use of its technical support database.
Providers for narrowbody conversions quickly responded to the new conditions. Aeronautical Engineers Inc. sealed an agreement for 737 conversions in December 2009; Precision Conversions followed a year later with 757-200 conversions, with IAI Bedek signing for the Boeing licensee for passenger to freighter conversions for 737-300/400s in 2010. But for the widebody conversions, negotiations took much longer.
By that time, Bedek has already been quite successful, converting 29 747-400 and 72 767-200/300 passenger aircraft into combi or cargo planes. As such, it was competing head-to-head with Boeing’s production and cargo conversion offerings. As a result, the largest access fee was charged to operators of the largest aircraft converted under non-Boeing-licensed STCs.
The agreement will benefit IAI’s existing customer base and is likely to pave the way for future conversions of more types of widebody aircraft.