Sokes wrote:lightsaber wrote:But it isn't just lines. There is surplus labor, so if staff haven't been moved from MRO work to staffing a 2nd shift on a conversion line, I would ask why.
Can it be done? How much training is required?
One has to change the floor to make it suitable for containers. How fast can suppliers ramp up?
According to Wiki as of Nov 20 FedEx still has 42 new B767-300ER on order.
Would they order it again with today's knowledge?
Can it be done? Fairly easy. If you're training for MRB MRO work, then you have 90% of the training to do the conversions.
For technicians to do the hourly labor, existing techs are past due in most of the industry to be promoted to leads (mentors), they'll ramp up quickly. This industry has no problem with a 50% ramp. That is all I'm proposing. Considering MRO work is down about 50%, that is a lot of technicians, leads, and MRB qualified engineers looking for something to do.
Suppliers are panicking due to the plummet in orders. There is so much slack in the aerospace system it is sad. The goal now is to ramp up suppliers to survive. It is more a question of price negotiations than capability. IAI and Boeing hold all the cards in the 767 conversion market. It is the new conversions that will have issues ramping up (new parts).
As to FedEx reordering with today's knowledge, that is a different topic. I think they made a smart decision. With the demand surge for packages, I think they might order more aircraft and at today's costs, converted 767s just make sense. They have 92 in service and are fading out higher cost aircraft. With the surge in demand, I estimate they need another 30 767Fs above the current orders and another 30 to 40 752BCFs. (Wikipedia has a mistake in labeling them SFs, that is IAI bedek, P2F is EFW,
All indications are that IAI is considering new conversion lines:
https://www.aircargonews.net/services/f ... -services/
If you read that article:
762 conversion rates spiking. That was a surprise to IAI, but they're noting they are acquiring the orders!
763 conversions were limited previously by stock (Boeing had an advantage of acquiring aircraft pre-Covid19). Not an issue today.
It has never been easier to expand production, unless your stuff competes with medical supplies (certain rare earospace coatings are currently issues for yours truly as the few vendors mostly do medical equipment, but that doesn't apply to cargo conversions as these are space rated coatings, not aircraft coatings).
Stock will be cheap and readily available for years. It is a matter of ramping up the conversion without raising the cost. That means developing a backlog. I think that will happen due to the, what I believe, permanent shift to more online ordering.
With the huge limits of validity (long certified usable lives) of the 757 and 767, I see no reason why conversions will not accelerate. The A32x is just limited by the cost of aircraft (conversions look at remaining cycles/hours and right now, an A321 costs a lot more than a 757 even when the present value of fuel and maintenance savings comes into play, that will naturally change with time). Naturally, the least desirable planes will be scrapped.
But they are still getting orders for 762 conversions... That tells me freight companies want low acquisition cost freighters. IAI will supply.
I wish I knew the depth of their backlog versus the traditional backlog. Anyone have a link?