Sat, Feb 19, 2005 - Page 11 News List

Evergreen, Boeing in partnership to refashion aircraft

AFP , TAIPEI

Evergreen Aviation Technologies Corp (EGAT, 長榮航太) yesterday signed a deal with Boeing Co to convert three passenger jets into cargo planes for the US aerospace giant in the first such contract for the nation.

EGAT will convert three Boeing 747-400 passenger planes into B747-400 Large Cargo Freighters (LCF) starting mid-year, the companies said at a contract signing ceremony in Taipei.

The modifications were expected to be completed in two years, they said in a joint statement.

The new cargo freighters would be used to transport major assemblies for the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

"This is one of the most challenging modifications the Boeing Co has ever undertaken," Boeing 787 vice president of manufacturing and quality Scott Strode said.

"When these airplanes return to service, we can stand together and know that we are the architects of a truly one-of-a-kind airplane," he said.

The first LCF would be certified in 2006 and return to service to support the final assembly of the first Dreamliners in 2007.

"This is the first cooperation between EGAT and Boeing and we hope it will open new opportunities for the Taiwanese aviation industry," EGAT chairman David Wang (王宜恭) said.

Wang said the modification of passenger jets into cargo planes would become a new mainstream business.

There would be global demand for some 3,000 new cargo planes over the next two decades with some 2,000 converted from passenger jets, according to the nation's economic authorities.

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