China will see further expansion of its 777F fleet as China Cargo Airlines and China Southern Airlines continue to add more of the type in the next two years.
China Cargo Airlines, which took its ninth 777F (67453) in January 2022, is nearing the delivery of another new 777F. That aircraft conducted a flight test on April 11 in full livery and, like unit 67453, will remain unidentified in Boeing’s backlog until delivery.
Meanwhile, China Southern Airlines will shake up its freighter fleet with the addition of at least five more 777s in the next two years, growing to nineteen of the type by the end of 2024. The carrier expects to add one 777F in 2022 as it retires its two 747-400Fs and two more 777Fs in 2023 and 2024, respectively, according to the airlines’ 2021 annual report, released on March 31.
It is currently unclear where China Southern will source its 777Fs from — or whether they will be production 777Fs or 777 conversions. Boeing’s outstanding orderbook as of March 31 does not include China Southern but does attribute twenty-six 777Fs to unidentified customers.
The carrier could not be reached for comment.
China’s other 777F operator, Air China, operates eight 777Fs in addition to three 747-400Fs and four 757-200Fs. The country’s three 777F operators currently have a combined total of thirty-one of the type.
Currently, just over 22% of large widebody freighters operate in the Asia-Pacific region, with another 10% of total large widebodies on order to Asian customers. Of the 216 777Fs in service among nineteen different operators at the end of January 2022, forty-six were deployed with airlines in Asia.
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