Solve the 747-8F mystery! Win fabulous prizes!

Seattle's football team has one 747-8F -- have they ordered four more?

Seattle’s football team has one 747-8F — have they ordered four more?

It’s Friday, right? The day we usually try to lighten things up. Maybe post some videos, or find a bit of humor somewhere in the air freight world, or dream up a quiz.

Today, we’ll combine most of the above. Not humor (unless you count the photo at right), but a mystery for you to solve, with fabulous prizes to be won, and a few videos to top it all off. Here we go…

Yesterday, Boeing announced an order for four 747-8Fs from “Unidentified Customer(s).” Who is the mystery customer? Be the first to get the right answer (entered into the comment box at the bottom of this page), and the next time you’re in Seattle, drop by Cargo Facts World Headquarters to collect your Grand Prize. Yes, that’s right, we’ll take you out for coffee and a doughnut at the world famous Top Pot Donut shop just around the corner.

Cargo Facts doesn’t know the answer, but we always enjoy these guessing games, so here are our thoughts on the matter.

  • Orders for freighters going to Saudia Cargo are reported as placed by an unidentified customer. Look at the Saudia Cargo fleet and you’ll see four 777Fs and two 747-8Fs. Now, look at Boeing’s orders and deliveries site, and you will not see any mention of Saudia. All six of those new freighters are shown as ordered by, and delivered to, “Unidentified Customer(s).” Given that Saudia Cargo is in the midst of a fleet revamp (to comply with government-imposed age restrictions), they have to be on the list of possibilities.
  • Then there is AirBridgeCargo Airlines. AirBridge’s parent, Volga-Dnepr Group, last year signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Boeing for twenty 747-8Fs, and AirBridge has already taken three of those twenty, bringing the number of 747-8Fs in its fleet to eight. Cargo Facts has said several times that, unlike some MOUs that are little more than pipe dreams, we believe this one is likely to be firmed. We didn’t, and still don’t, know whether ABC will end up taking all of the twenty, but we expect most of them will eventually be firm-ordered and delivered. However, one caveat to putting AirBridge/Volga-Dnepr on the list is that, unlike Saudia, they do not have a history of secrecy. They announced the twenty-unit MOU to the world, and have made no secret of taking delivery of some already, so why go into stealth mode now?
  • Speaking of stealth mode, Saudia is not the only big player in the freighter business that keeps things under wraps. Boeing shows an order for six 777Fs placed by “Unidentified Customer(s)” in December 2014. Cargo Facts believes that customer is US-based lessor Guggenheim Aviation Partners – could GAP be doing the same thing with 747-8Fs? We don’t think so, but it is a possibility worth considering.
  • Other carriers known to be considering 747-8Fs include Silk Way, Air China Cargo, and Cargolux. However, none of them has shown any desire for secrecy in the past, so we put them on the “maybe, but not likely” section of the list.

Of course, the mystery customer may turn out to be none of the above. What do you think? Scroll down to the comment box below the videos, and make your guess – coffee and a doughnut await the winner!

And now, the videos. Since we’re on the subject of 747-8Fs, and have mentioned Saudia and AirBridge, here are a couple videos for you.

First, here are two AirBridgeCargo 747-8Fs landing almost nose-to-tail at Amsterdam.

And now a Saudia Cargo 747-8F warming up and taking off on a test flight from Boeing’s Seattle facility.

Make your guess below, and enjoy the weekend.

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13 Comments

  1. F.Dave Mcinerney says:

    Saudi a

  2. Amazon…because why not… 😛

  3. Mario Felarca says:

    As you mention above, it is possible that these are 4 freighters for Air China, and were part of the larger order last year that will only become disclosed piecemeal as their government approves the orders and assigns them to individual airlines. I actually hope it isn’t for CA, as I hope their rumored 747-8s that are part of their order are Intercontinentals.

    Another long shot would be that it was the predicted Asiana order from 2 years ago, and that they are just now getting around to actually placing that order.

  4. Asiana

  5. Amazon
    They are already NVOCC for ocean freight shipments
    buying an aircraft they could also enter the airfreight cargo market

  6. Frequent Traveller says:

    Those four 747-8F units are for Modal Shift, in the absence of ad hoc Ultrafreighters … they are for STAR Air of Denmark (Maersk Group).

  7. Frank Struber says:

    Saudia

  8. Im sure its ABC

  9. David Harris says:

    If I had to guess, I’d say AirBridge, because they’ve already said they want more 747-8Fs. But it’s odd that they’d go the “Unidentified Customer” route.

  10. Mario Felarca says:

    Well, it looks like we have an answer. In the reports for Volga-Dnepr’s announcement earlier this week, they confirmed that 2 of the unidentified orders in March were by them. Additionally, LN1535 which rolled out of the FAL with an Atlas customer code, so that could indicate that the other two unidentified orders in March were for them.

    Without any further confirmation on those other two, it is still just speculation.

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