Air China Cargo continues freighter fleet modernization

Air China Cargo took delivery last week of another 777F (44682) from Boeing. This is the fifth of eight 777 Freighters the carrier has on firm order, and the delivery brings Air China Cargo one step closer to its goal of completely revamping its freighter fleet.

The revamp is part of a broader deal reached in early 2013 among Air China Cargo, Cathay Pacific Airways and Air China (joint-venture partners in Air China Cargo), and Boeing. Under that agreement, Cathay ordered three more 747-8Fs (bringing its total order to thirteen), Air China Cargo effectively took over Cathay’s outstanding order for eight 777Fs, and Boeing agreed to purchase a total of eleven 747-400BCFs from Air China Cargo and Cathay.

Air China Cargo has since ordered four 757-200 passenger-to-freighter conversions from Precision Aircraft Solutions (all of which have now been delivered), and Cathay has ordered a fourteenth 747-8F.

The chart above shows the evolution of the two carriers’ fleets from the time of the agreement through the present and to their planned state at the end of the revamp. It is based on the assumption that Air China Cargo will retire its remaining two 747-400Fs, although the carrier has not explicitly stated its intention to do so.

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