A 787 Freighter?
Well not really, but according to a Reuters report, once Boeing’s fix for the 787 battery problem is certified, All Nippon Airlines plans to put its pilots through some training flights with the goal of resuming 787 service in June. These would be cargo-only flights, carried out so that the flying public would be reassured about the safety of the 787.
Various routes have been hinted at in the media, including Japan-Germany, but the Reuters report points to Tokyo-Naha-Tokyo. Given that Naha (on the island of Okinawa) is the hub from which ANA conducts its 767-300F operations, this makes sense.
But here’s the interesting part: According to Reuters, “Before the grounding, ANA used the Dreamliner about twice a week to carry cargo between Tokyo and Naha.” So the 787 Freighter has actually been operating for quite some time. Who knew?
On a more serious note, Boeing today released a statement saying it had “completed a 787 certification demonstration flight.” The purpose of the flight was “to demonstrate that the new battery system performs as intended during normal and non-normal flight conditions.”
Boeing says it will now gather and analyze the data and submit the required materials to the FAA “in the coming days.”
David – thanks for drawing our attention to the freighter potential of the 787’s – the cargo carrying potential of the ‘composite airframe’ generation (starting with the 787 and A350 aircraft) is maybe something we should now be starting to get a handle on specifically understanding their potential role as freighters and equally important as conversions from pax configuration to freighters – is this maybe the end of an era in terms of there being an option of converting the pax airframes with p2f freighter conversion programmes specifically installing a large freight door on the Main Deck of the pax airframe? Is the potential cost of engineering a p2f solution on the pax airframe composite structure 15 – 20 years into the life of a pax aircraft going to be too expensive? If the answer is yes then in time the Industry is going to have to wean itself off the traditional p2f Main Deck Door conversion format. In the 3rd generation (twin-aisle and wide boded) airframes (A330 & 777) there are indications that the traditional p2f format (installing a Maind Deck Cargo Door and beefing up the Main eck capability) may already be becoming unaffordable. As you know the LCF conversion programme addresses these issues (affordability and practicality) utilising the freight doors that are already installed in the Lower Deck of the 3rd generation passenger aircraft airframes and enabling all cargo that can be loaded in the Lower Holds to be accommodated on the Main deck with no change to the passenger certified limits and no intrusive engineering – all for less than the cost of a cabin re-configuration! (http://www.lcfconversions.com) Look forward to seeing you in Hong Kong next week. Cliff Duke