Taiwan-based EVA Air Cargo is planning to operate its last scheduled 747-400BDSF freighter flight on 2 June, according to the carrier’s online freighter schedule. With the aircraft’s retirement imminent, delivery of EVA’s last remaining 777F on order with Boeing is expected shortly.
If no further schedule changes are made, the lone remaining 747-400F in EVA’s fleet (27899) will be used next month for a final trans-Pacific flight between Los Angeles (LAX) and Taipei (TPE). The aircraft will depart Los Angeles on 2 June, and arrive in Taipei on 4 June after a technical stop in Anchorage (ANC). Although EVA will continue operating freighter flights between LAX and TPE utilizing 777Fs, it will soon become impossible to sight an EVA 747F. However, flight BR0619 won’t be the last 747-400-operated flight between LAX and TPE. EVA’s fellow Taiwanese freighter operator, China Airlines, continues to operate 747-400Fs on trans-Pacific routes.
For some time now, remaining service time for EVA’s 747 fleet has been limited. The current iteration of EVA’s freighter modernization strategy began to unfold in June 2015, when the carrier unveiled plans to replace its 747F fleet with 777Fs. EVA signed an LOI with Boeing for five 777Fs in June 2015 [FATs 002396-2399], and firmed up the order in July [FATs 002586-2590]. It wasn’t until August 2017, however, that EVA announced plans to retire the three 747-400Fs and two 747-400BDSFs that comprised its freighter fleet at the time [FAT 004010-4014].
Since announcing the retirement, EVA Air has steadily removed 747Fs from service as new 777Fs are delivered. EVA took delivery of its first 777F in November 2017, and its fourth and latest in December of last year [FATs 004101, 4403, 4632, 4728]. EVA’s three 747-400F production freighters (30607, 30608, 30609) were all nabbed by Atlas Air [FATs 004310, 4633, 4675] and two are now operating in Atlas Air livery, while the third (30609) was placed with Atlas-affiliate Polar Air. As for EVA’s freighter-converted 747-400BDSF that was in operation until February of this year (27898), Air Atlanta Icelandic acquired the aircraft earlier this month 747-400BDSF [FAT 004871].
With an approximate retirement date in mind for EVA’s sole remaining 747-400BDSF (27899), there remain just a few freighter aircraft transactions involving the carrier in the foreseeable future – a 777F delivery, and perhaps a new owner for the -400BDSF. The fifth and final 777F on order with Boeing (62828) appears to have exited final assembly and is currently undergoing flight tests. Redelivery within the next few weeks is expected. As for the 747-400BDSF, carriers have been less eager to acquire freighter-converted 747-400s, but there are a few operators for which the aircraft could make sense. Air Atlanta Icelandic’s 747 freighter conversions are aged between 21 and nearly 29 years while EVA’s 747-400BDSF was delivered as a combi in 1995 and converted to full-freighter configuration in April 2009.
Update 6 June: EVA Air Cargo has since taken redelivery of its last 777F, and has ceased operating the above-mentioned 747-400BDSF that was previously operating in scheduled service.