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GECAS to lease first 777-300 converted freighters to Kalitta Air

A Kalitta Air Boeing 777-200 (Photo: Flickr/Kwok Ho Eddie Wong)

GECAS Cargo, a subsidiary of General Electric (NYSE: GE), said Kalitta Air will be the launch customer for its Boeing 777-300 converted freighter program.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but GECAS said the planes will be delivered to Kalitta in 2023.

The 777-300ERSF, called the “Big Twin,” will be the largest twin-engine aircraft conversion to cargo service and is viewed as an excellent replacement for the aging four-engine 747 freighters.

GECAS delivered its first 777 passenger plane to Israel Aerospace Industries for conversion to freighter service in June. Converting the 2005-built aircraft to a freighter will require extensive work, including the addition of a main deck cargo door, window plugs, modified crew compartment and a reinforced fuselage.

The company says the freighter will burn 21% less fuel per ton than the larger 747-400 freighters and offer 25% more cargo volume than the 777-200 freighters. The plane’s flight range capability is expected to supersede the remaining 747-400 and MD11 freighters in service.

Kalitta Air started operations in 2000 with three 747 cargo planes and now has four 777s, 24 747-400s and nine 767-300s in its fleet.

Click for more FreightWaves/American Shipper articles by Chris Gillis.

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Chris Gillis

Located in the Washington, D.C. area, Chris Gillis primarily reports on regulatory and legislative topics that impact cross-border trade. He joined American Shipper in 1994, shortly after graduating from Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Md., with a degree in international business and economics.