It’s been quite a week for freighter aircraft. On Wednesday we reported a record four 757-200PCF redeliveries in one week by Precision Aircraft Solutions, but Russia-based AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) deserves mention as well, for taking delivery of two 747-8 Freighters in one day. Technically, that day appears to have been 5 November, but the two jumbo freighters didn’t fly away from Seattle en route to Moscow until this week.
These are the first two 747-8Fs delivered to ABC under an MoU signed at the Paris Air Show this summer by parent Volga-Dnepr Group and Boeing, although Cargo Facts believes Boeing’s customer is either US-based investment company Four Six Four Aircraft (which is, in turn, leasing the freighters to ABC), or Boeing’s own leasing arm Boeing Capital Corporation. ABC now operates eight 747-8Fs, five 747-400ERFs, and two 747-400Fs. It also ACMI leases two 747-400BCFs from Air Atlanta Icelandic.
At the time of the handover to ABC, the carrier said: “the planes will be deployed on the expanding network under winter schedule 2015/2016, between Asia and the United States.” Two days later, ABC announced that it had added twice-weekly 747-8F service to Atlanta, as part of a Moscow-Hong Kong-Los Angeles-Amsterdam-Moscow round-the-world route. The carrier now serves Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Los Angeles in the US, and said that the new focus on the US was paying off, with China-US volumes doubling in the first ten months of this year.
As a side note, the two freighters that went to ABC this week were the 99th and 100th 747-8s delivered. Cargolux took the first one in October 2011, and of the one hundred total, sixty-three have been freighters, twenty-nine have been in passenger configuration, and eight were in BBJ or VIP configuration.
Finally, as we often do on Friday, we’ve included a video with this post. It’s of test flights by one of the two 747-8Fs a few days before delivery (with an added bonus in the middle for you plane geeks — a good closeup of a US Navy P8 taking off).