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Boeing plane conversion facility to be built in Casablanca

An Emirates Boeing 777-300R. The Morocco facility will convert passenger planes to cargo Alamy via Reuters
An Emirates Boeing 777-300R. The Morocco facility will convert passenger planes – from sources as yet undisclosed – to cargo
  • Passenger jets converted to cargo
  • Facility to be built by US companies
  • Middle East air freight volumes rising

A production facility is to be set up in Morocco to convert Boeing 777-300ER passenger jets into freighters.

Stratos Industries will build three wide-body aircraft hangars at the Mohammed V International Airport in Casablanca as part of a deal between US-based companies Kansas Modification Center (KMC) and Integrated Aerospace Alliance (IAA).

KMC will convert up to eight aircraft annually, according to a statement.

It added that the alliance will use the “engineering and certification capabilities of KMC and the aerospace engineering, certification, and program management skills of IAA”.

No details of investment or costs were provided.

KMC is working with Wichita State University and aerospace company NIAR Werx, with a view to achieving US Federal Aviation Authority approval of the supplemental type certificate in early 2025.

The facility will allow the three companies to “meet the growing global demand for 777-300ER freighters” for clients in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

A wide-body aircraft paint hangar will also be built at the site.

Middle Eastern carriers reported a 1.6 percent increase in demand for air cargo in 2023 (measured in cargo tonne kilometres) according to the International Air Transport Association, compared with a global drop of 1.9 percent.

Aviation in Morocco accounts for about 130 companies with a turnover of around $2 billion in exports and 17,000 employees, according to the US International Trade Administration.

In February, Morocco’s minister of industry and trade Ryad Mezzour revealed plans to manufacture the first entirely Moroccan-made aircraft within the next six years.

US planemaker Boeing on Wednesday reported quarterly revenue was $16.57 billion, down from $17.92 billion a year earlier, marking its first quarterly revenue drop in seven quarters. 

Analyst expectations were lower following a January mid-air blowout of a door plug resulted in a slowing of production. Ratings agency Moody’s has cut Boeing’s credit rating to the bottom of investment grade.

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