October 27, 2020 — GECAS Cargo announced an agreement with Kalitta Air for three 777-300ERSF aircraft. With this agreement, Kalitta will be the first operator of the new passenger-to-freighter type, adding to their already sizable all-cargo fleet when these aircraft deliver in 2023.
Dubbed “The Big Twin,” the 777-300ERSF will be the largest ever twin-engine freighter. As announced a year ago, the conversion program is jointly funded by GECAS and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), with GECAS delivering the prototype aircraft to undergo conversion in June of this year. Setting a new benchmark for cargo operators, The Big Twin will be powered by GE90 engines, the world’s most powerful in-service engine.
With twenty years of providing scheduled and on-demand charter service in the United States and around the world, Kalitta Air currently operates a fleet of more than three dozen cargo planes, including 747-400F, 767-300SF and 777F.
“Providing air express delivery all around the world for virtually any type of freight, the addition of these three 777-300ERSF freighters will help us meet the needs of our customers,” shared Conrad Kalitta, owner of Kalitta Air.
“We are delighted to continue our 15-year relationship with Kalitta Air and proud they’ve become the launch customer with the 777-300ERSF freighter for its future air cargo operations,” said Rich Greener, SVP and Manager Cargo of GECAS, adding “The 777-300ERSF shares extensive commonality with the production 777-200LRF. That’s a benefit to any operator looking to bring a new type into their fleet.”
The Big Twin will also offer 25% more capacity and it is anticipated that The Big Twin will achieve up to 21% lower fuel-burn per tonne than the current 4-engine freighters with the GE90. This was designed specifically for the longer-range Boeing 777 series, providing up to 115,000 lbs. of thrust. In addition to producing the sole-source engine for the 777 variants, GE Aviation will support MRO engine and power-by-the-hour services to ensure continued performance throughout the lifecycle of the converted freighters.
“GECAS Cargo has developed a new standard for aviation lessors, leveraging our fleet of passenger aircraft to provide freighter conversion feedstock — for this 777-300ERSF program as well as converting 737-800NGs,” Greener says, “This approach extends the useful life of our aircraft and GE / CFM engines while meeting the need for replacements of retiring freighters and increased demand for dedicated cargo capacity.”