A few years ago, the Seattle Seahawks morphed from perpetual mediocrity into one of the best football teams in the US. “So what?” I can hear you asking. “What does that have to do with the air freight industry?” And, sneeringly, from our European readers, “That’s not even football.”
We’ll leave the argument about what is or isn’t football for another day, but for anyone who lives in the northwest corner of the US, the connection between the local football team and the air freight industry for the last three years has been a Boeing 747-8 freighter painted in Seahawks colors. Initially, it was unit 37564, one of the first 747-8Fs built – ordered by Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, but not taken, and now reserved for test purposes. More recently, it has been unit 60119 – one of four built in mid-2015 for a customer (believed to be Asiana) whose order never firmed up.
But while Asiana’s order may have evaporated, three of the four freighters soon found new homes, with two going to Russia-based AirBridgeCargo and one to Azerbaijan-based Silk Way West. And, as of two days ago it is clear the fourth will soon be flying to London Stansted Airport (STN) where it will be operated by CargoLogicAir, the recently launched sister carrier of AirBridgeCargo. How clear? As clear as a fresh paint job can make it. (You can see the freighter in both its new and old liveries here.)
Both AirBridge and CargoLogicAir are subidiaries of Russia’s Volga-Dnepr Group, which signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Boeing last year for the acquisition of twenty 747-8 freighters. The two recent 747-8F deliveries to AirBridge, and the imminent delivery to CargoLogicAir have been firmed from that MoU, and Cargo Facts expects most of the others will be firmed in the not-too-distant future. Also worth noting is that we believe these three freighters have been leased from Boeing Capital, rather than purchased.
To get your weekend off to a good start, here are some related photos and videos. First, a Boeing video of the original Seahawks 747-8F:
And a video from CargoLogicAir, showing its first freighter, a 747-400F:
A 747-8F in AirBridgeCargo livery: