2018: The year of the 777F?

Turkish Airlines continues to add to its 777F fleet.

So far this year, FedEx has taken delivery of two 777Fs (40683, 41440) from Boeing, and has announced an order for twelve more.

Every week in Cargo Facts Update, we include a list of recent freighter aircraft transactions, and then a comprehensive summary in the monthly issue of Cargo Facts. In recent weeks, there have been a number of significant transactions involving the 777F, and so today we thought it would be appropriate to recap major transactions involving the airframe type.

Air France: Today it was reported that beginning this summer, between 15 July and 8 September, Air France will ACMI-lease a 777F from Qatar Airways Cargo. The aircraft will be primarily utilized on trans-Atlantic routes between Paris (CDG) and destinations in the United States and Mexico, such as Houston (IAH) and Guadalajara (GDL) via Mexico City (MEX) and Chicago (ORD), reports ch-aviation. The extra freighter will likely free up the carrier’s pair of owned 777Fs (32965, 32966) to increase frequencies to destinations in Africa.

With regards to scheduled cargo flights to Africa, Air France appears to be adding scheduled flights to destinations in West Africa, such as Bamako (BKO), Niamey (NIM), and Port Harcourt (PHC). The new flights come amidst a resurgence in ISIS-related terrorist activities in parts of the region. At present, France has some 4,000 troops stationed across former French colonies in the Sahel region where the new flights are headed. It is unclear if demand is related to a growing requirement for humanitarian aid and supplies, or other commodities. In parallel, Cargolux appears to be boosting frequencies to BKO from Luxembourg (LUX) beginning 11 July.

The additional international capacity to Africa comes at a time when demand growth appears to be slowing for carriers based in Africa. In May, International FTKs carried by African carriers decreased by 1.9%, according to IATA’s latest monthly Air Freight Market Analysis.

All Nippon Airways: ANA ordered two 777Fs from Boeing as part of its five-year business plan, the carrier said back in February. While no delivery timeline was provided, ANA expects to operate the freighters in trans-Pacific service. ANA currently operates twelve 767 freighters.

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings: Atlas acquired two 777Fs (38091, 41518) from Chile-based LATAM Cargo in March. Atlas’ Southern Air subsidiary will operate both freighters on an ACMI basis for DHL Express. Southern Air operates a total of six 777Fs and five 737-400Fs for DHL Express.

EVA Airways: Taiwan-based EVA Air took delivery of a 777F (62825) from Boeing in May. EVA now operates six freighters: two 747-400Fs, two 747-400BDSFs, and two 777Fs, and has three more 777Fs on order. In 2017, the carrier announced plans to reduce and modernize its freighter fleet, going from three 747-400Fs and five 747-400BDSFs to just five 777Fs.

FedEx: FedEx took delivery of two 777Fs (40683, 41440) from Boeing this year, and announced an order for twelve 777Fs and twelve 767Fs last month. While FedEx had previously stated that it planned to take delivery of five 777Fs beyond what Boeing’s order book have shown, the new order still accounts for seven new 777F orders for FedEx.

Lufthansa: Germany-based Lufthansa Cargo placed an order with Boeing for two 777Fs in May. Lufthansa will operate both of the freighters upon their expected delivery in February and March of 2019. The orders are part of the carrier’s fleet modernization strategy, under which Lufthansa will retire its current fleet of twelve MD-11 freighters in favor of a freighter fleet made up entirely of 777Fs. Lufthansa currently operates five 777Fs.

Qatar Airways: In April of this year, Doha-based Qatar Airways signed an LOI to acquire five 777Fs. The carrier currently operates two 747-8Fs, thirteen 777Fs, and eight A330-200Fs. It also has three more 777Fs already on order (rising to eight on order when the LOI is finalized). Beginning later this month, Qatar Airways will ACMI-lease a 777F to Air France for use on trans-Atlantic cargo routes.

Saudia Cargo: In January, Saudia Cargo returned four 777Fs to service. Saudia began parking its 777Fs late in 2016 and they remained parked through 2017 as the Middle Eastern carrier significantly reduced capacity from its 2015 peak of seventeen large widebody freighters. By the end of 2017, Saudia Cargo operated only six freighters, but operations have since increased to include a total of twelve – four 777-200Fs, four 747-400BDSFs, one each of 747-400ERFs and 747-400FSCDs, and two 747-8Fs.

Turkish Cargo: Turkish Airlines took delivery of its first 777F (60403) in December of 2017 and now operates two of the freighters. Turkish subsequently ordered three additional 777Fs early in 2018, and Cargo Facts also believes that Turkish Cargo is the “unidentified customer” that placed an order for three 777Fs from Boeing in March.

As a reminder, the FAT Database is available to subscribers as an interactive tool on our website. For a look at the latest transactions, you can navigate to the database from the “FAT Data” tab at the top of the home page, or directly at http://cargofacts1.wpengine.com/fat/

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