As fewer 747-400Fs in serviceable condition remain parked, a production nose-loading 747-200F has joined the active fleet after being in storage for two years.
The aircraft (22545, ex-Air Georgia), a 1981-vintage frame equipped with GE’s CF6-50 engines, is owned by U.A.E.-based Global Service Solutions (GSS). The ACMI and charter provider told Cargo Facts that unit 22545 is operated by Moldova-based Fly Pro, along with GSS’ other 747, a -200SF (23813, ex-The Cargo Airlines) manufactured in 1987.
Unit 22545 recently completed heavy maintenance at the GMF AeroAsia facility in Jakarta (CGK) — where various 747Fs have also received post-reactivation maintenance in the past year — and flew to Bishkek (FRU) in February to await regulatory approval. This was challenging due to pandemic-related restrictions in moving crews and inspectors, according to GSS.
GSS confirmed that it had acquired unit 22545 in late 2018, and put it in service until 2019, when the 747 was due for maintenance. Taking into account the weakening market at the time, GSS decided to park the freighter in long-term storage at FRU. It was not until December 2020 that GSS finally positioned unit 22545 to CGK ahead of its slot at GMF.
GSS selected unit 22545 specifically for its nose-loading capability, and told Cargo Facts that it is in the process of acquiring one more production 747-200F. The identity of this aircraft is currently unclear, although we note the following possible candidates that also have GE CF6-50s: 23139 (ex-Jet Star); 24359 (ex-Saudia); 24735, 24879 and 25266 (all ex-Midex Airlines).
In addition to a third 747-200, GSS is looking at options beyond 747 Classics. The company had considered -400Fs but, in light of the pandemic, many of the frames on which negotiations had begun were taken off the table, GSS said. Despite that, GSS hopes to be closer to securing its first 747-400 by around midyear, although the company did not specify whether this would be a production or converted unit.
Other carriers currently operating 747 Classics include: Iran-based Qeshm Fars Air, with two production -200Fs (24576 and 25171, both ex-South Airlines); Georgia-based Geo Sky, with two -200SFs (23711 and 23735, both ex-Air Atlanta Icelandic); Kyrgyzstan-based Aerostan, also with two -200SFs (23111, ex-Geo Sky, and 23737, ex-Sigma Airlines); and Belarus-based TransAviaExport Airlines, with a single -300SF (24837, ex-Saudia).
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