Kansas Modification Center announces inaugural 777-300ERCF orders for 777 P2F conversion

DALLAS – Kansas Modification Center (KMC), in partnership with Dr. Peters Group, Wichita State University’s (WSU) National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) and NIAR WERX, announced the inaugural order from Backbone Freighter Leasing for the 777-300ERCF passenger to freighter (P2F) conversion program at Aviation Week’s MRO Americas 2022 event.

Backbone Freighter Leasing announced that it will place three firm orders for converted freighters with deliveries in 2024 and 2025, and options for seven additional conversions in 2025, 2026 and 2027.  The order and options total in value over $300 million.

NIAR WERX in Wichita, Kan. is providing the engineering, certification and modifications for the aircraft conversion program.  Part of the work is being done at NIAR WERX’s MRO. 

Scheduled for FAA Supplemental Type Certificate approval in the second quarter of 2024 and subsequent validation and certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency, the 777-300ERCF P2F will leverage the highly successful 777-300ER passenger airplane and support the growing demand for air cargo capacity.

With its large main deck cargo door, newly integrated aluminum floor beams, cargo handling system options, perishable goods carriage capability and 25 percent more volume than the 777F, the 777-300ERCF will provide versatility for both higher density and high-volume cargo operators. 

The anticipated low empty weight for the 777-300ERCF P2F conversion will enable a unique set of capabilities for converted freighter aircraft. The KMC 777-300ERCF P2F will be the aircraft of choice for long-range payload needs. With the lowest fuel consumption amongst its peers, the aircraft is environmentally friendly compared to other alternatives.

“I am privileged to announce this initial order from Backbone,” said Jim Gibbs, president and CEO of KMC. “We are excited they have chosen to invest with our team.”

This announcement comes on the heels of additional groundbreaking news from KMC and WSU-NIAR WERX. Last week, the State of Kansas committed $35 million in funding over the next five years to WSU for use in its NIAR WERX MRO program.  This demonstrates the State of Kansas’ commitment to continued economic growth in Kansas through manufacturing and MRO activities. 

Yesterday, KMC also announced production of the first replacement parts in partnership with Dynamic NC, located in Rose Hill, Kan., for the initial 777-300 ERCF conversion already underway.  On Monday, NIAR WERX also successfully commenced flight tests for the aircraft that is currently being converted.

With one initial modification underway and today’s announcement by Backbone Freighter Leasing regarding three new firm orders, the P2F conversion program initially announced by KMC and WSU is successfully advancing per schedule.

About Kansas Modification Center
Kansas Modification Center, led by President and CEO Jim Gibbs, was established in 2021 to meet the industry’s growing need for MRO and conversion programs. The KMC team carries an established ethos in aviation research and development. Located in Wichita, Kansas, the heart of North America’s aerospace industry; KMC brings together the best technologically advanced teams necessary to accomplish one of the most formidable and challenging passenger-to-freighter conversions in today’s stringent regulatory environment.

WERX, a division of Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research, provides engineering, modification/repair/overhaul, environmental test and flight test/certification services. The NIAR WERX team includes a total of 425 program managers, engineers, contractors, technicians and paid applied learning students. niarwerx.org

About Backbone Freighter Leasing and Dr. Peters Group
Backbone Freighter Leasing is a new aircraft leasing platform specializing in the leasing of Boeing 777-300ER P2F aircraft. Backbone Freighter Leasing will acquire B777-300ER passenger aircraft, have these passenger aircraft converted to freighters, and offer them to the market at competitive commercial terms. This service will enable operators to finance growth through B777-300ERCF P2F with a significantly reduced burden to manage the complex conversion program. Backbone Freighter Leasing is sponsored by Dr. Peters Group, a fund originator, servicer and aircraft asset manager with an investment track record totaling $3.37 billion in 19 aircraft investments.