An additional four orders for 747-8Fs have appeared in Boeing’s backlog of orders, destined for “Unspecified Customer(s).” However, given past known orders that were previously not reflected in the order book, it’s likely the freighters are part of the order placed by Volga-Dnepr Group at last summer’s Farnborough International Airshow.
As noted in the recent Cargo Facts look at 2018 production freighter orders, Boeing’s order backlog for Volga-Dnepr Group showed only one outstanding 747-8F order at the end of 2018. Considering that Volga-Dnepr and UPS are the only known carriers awaiting production 747Fs, and that only UPS took delivery of any new production 747Fs during the past year, the unspecified customer is likely one of the airlines, or leasing companies under the Volga-Dnepr umbrella.
Among Volga-Dnepr affiliated airlines, both Russia-based AirBridgeCargo (ABC) and United Kingdom-based CargoLogicAir (CLA) operate 747 freighters (ABC operates seven -400Fs and eleven -8Fs, while CLA operates three -400Fs and one -8F). Volga-Dnepr Group and its affiliate CargoLogicHolding entered several agreements with Boeing last year, including the previously mentioned -8F order and a letter of intent to purchase up to twenty-nine 777Fs. While not all of those thirty-four widebody freighters may end up operating with those airlines, Volga-Dnepr has signaled its willingness to continue growing its fleet of widebody freighters with both 747Fs and 777Fs, making the Group the most likely mystery candidate for the newly appeared orders.
Those interested in learning more about trends in freighter aircraft operations are invited to join us Cargo Facts EMEA, to be held 4-6 February at The Westin Grand Frankfurt, where a panel discussion will be dedicated to the topic. To register or for more information, visit www.cargofactsemea.com.