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INDUSTRY FOCUSAIRFREIGHT


The end of the Boeing 747’s reign?


The original jumbo jet, the Boeing 747, is an iconic aircraft for international transport. However, like the Bristol Type 170 freighter and McDonnel Douglas MD-11 Trijet before it, the sun could be finally setting on ‘Queen of the Skies’. Rob Coppinger reports.


However, its reign as ‘Queen of the Skies’ is now all but at an end. Boeing’s own orders and deliveries website paints a clear picture. There are now only 14 freighters on order (for logistics firm UPS) and no remaining orders for the passenger version of the B747 – with the exception of the two replacements for the US government’s existing B474-400 Air Force One fleet. “The only 747 being offered [at present] is the B747-8. We have not built B747-400s in quite some time,” said Boeing.


W Customers


AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC), Atlas Air, Cargolux, Cathay Pacific, Korean Air, Nippon Cargo, Silk Way, Qatar Airways, UPS and Volga-Dnepr, plus some unidentified customers, have bought the B747-8F. Atlas Air has since leased its B747-8F to British Airways World Cargo. Since entering service, the B747 freighter has had a nose door for loading, like the Bristol Type 170 freighter that was in operation in the 1940s. Today, the only other commercially operated civilian freighters to load by the nose are the


76 May/June 2018


ith its iconic fuselage ‘hump’ and four engines, the Boeing 747 has been instantly recognisable since its first roll-out in 1969.


AN-124 and its larger sibling, the AN-225. “Antonovs are expensive compared with the B747… it is cheaper to run than an Antonov because the latter needs more equipment for loading and unloading,” said Pierre van der Stichele, group director for cargo and operations at air charter broker Chapman Freeborn.


Sought-after aircraft


The increase in worldwide cargo demand last year, which has continued into 2018, has made the B747 a much sought-after aircraft. “We are finding it hard to locate


nose-door B747s to fly down to Africa. Nose-door freighters are in demand and there are not enough around. There is space in the market for more of these freighters,” explained van der Stichele. Boeing is expecting further cargo growth to fuel production of its iconic aircraft. It said: “We will continue building B747-8s, and we expect the cargo market to continue to rebound in the coming years as existing freighters are in need of replacement.” However, competition for the B747F from Boeing itself began in 2005. The


Crane Worldwide charters AN-225


Crane Worldwide Logistics chartered the world’s largest freighter aircraft, the Antonov AN-225, in order to deliver 223 pallets of chemical drums to Dammam, Saudi Arabia.


The cargo originated from vendors in both Malaysia and Singapore. Given a lack of ocean vessels available, Crane Worldwide Logistics said that the AN-225 was the perfect choice to transport the consignment in a timely manner. Daniel Cheah, country manager Malaysia at


Crane Worldwide Logistics, said: “We handle heavy cargo on a day-to-day basis, always looking for the most cost effective and time efficient


solution to present to our clients. In this case, the AN-225 presented the perfect solution and it was a great moment to see this magnificent aircraft land once again in Kuala Lumpur.”


www.heavyliftpfi.com


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