EVA Air was founded in Taiwan in 1989, and, just three years later, began adding main-deck cargo capacity in the form of 747-400 combis. Taking advantage of the boom in trans-Pacific air freight demand (Taiwan was a major manufacturing center for goods destined for the US), EVA ramped up its cargo business and quickly began adding freighters. The first, in 1995, was an MD-11F. This was followed by more MD-11Fs, and then, in 2000, 747-400Fs, as well. In the years since 1992, EVA acquired a total of seven 747-400 combis, twelve MD-11Fs, and ten 747-400Fs (four production freighters and six BDSF conversions).
These seven combis and twenty-two freighters were never all in the fleet at the same time, but, at least for the period around 2007 to 2012, most of them were, and EVA was a major player in the world cargo scene.
But, as more and more Taiwanese companies shifted their manufacturing to mainland China, EVA, and Taiwan’s other big carrier, China Airlines, saw freight they had once carried shift to Air China, China Southern, and China Eastern. With its cargo volume declining, EVA accelerated the retirement of its aging MD-11Fs and 747 combis, as well as some of the 747 freighters, and now operates just three 747-400Fs and two 747-400BDSFs.
This week EVA conducted its final 747 passenger flight, and confirmed that it would also retire its 747 freighters, replacing them one-for-one with the five 777Fs it has on order with Boeing, with the last unit to leave the fleet by 2019.
EVA has put up a great tribute to its association with the 747 on its website. You can see that tribute here, and for your weekend viewing pleasure, here are a few videos of EVA freighters in action over the years.
A 747-400F coming in for a bumpy landing at Dallas (DFW)
Another EVA 747 freighter, taking off from Anchorage (ANC)
An EVA MD-11 landing at Osaka Kansai (KIX)
And finally, for the real freighter geeks among you, here is a video showing almost the entire EVA MD-11F fleet as it was in 2011