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Israel, UAE sign deal to convert passenger planes to cargo aircraft

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

An Emirates Airline plane taxis at the Dubai airport in the United Arab Emirates, May 9, 2018. (Kamran Jebreili/AP)
An Emirates Airline plane taxis at the Dubai airport in the United Arab Emirates, May 9, 2018. (Kamran Jebreili/AP)

The state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries signed an agreement with Dubai’s Emirates Airlines to convert four passenger aircraft into cargo planes, the Israeli firm says.

The agreement comes after IAI and the United Arab Emirates made a related arrangement earlier this summer to set up a facility in Abu Dhabi for plane conversions.

Under the agreement signed today, IAI will convert the four Boeing B777-300ER passenger planes into cargo carriers, with potential for the Israeli firm to “provide passenger-to-freighter conversion services to more aircraft,” according to the company.

The work on the planes is scheduled to begin in early 2023.

This is one of the first such public defense-related deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates since the two countries normalized ties last year under the Abraham Accords.

“This agreement between IAI, the global leader in the cargo conversion industry, and the cargo division of Emirates is a testament to the strong ties between IAI and the UAE,” the Israeli company says.

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