Painted, tested, and brand new, B-2041 (msn: 41632), the seventh 777 Freighter for China Southern Cargo, is seen here getting ready for delivery at Paine field.
Guangzhou-based China Southern has put it’s very new fleet of 777Fs to good use. Year over year from 2011 to 2012, the carrier’s international cargo traffic rose 23.1% to 2.725 billion RTKs, from 2.214, significant growth at a time when many carriers were struggling just to keep pace. Part of that growth comes from the expanded capacity – the six 777Fs delivered between December, 2009, and the end of 2011 joined two 747-400Fs delivered in 2002.
China Southern was an “early adopter” of the 777F, placing its initial order in February of 2007. With this major capacity expansion dovetailing well with the burgeoning exports of China Southern’s home markets, a second order for six additional 777Fs was announced in September, 2011. B-2041 is the first aircraft from this second group. The second, B-2042 (msn: 41633) is already in test flying and will likely be delivered soon after B-2041. Some months ago, the carrier indicated that the additional capacity of these two aircraft will be used to start a main deck route between Guangzhou and Frankfurt.
Although these new freighters have been the focus of China Southern’s cargo goals in the international market, the majority of its fleet is narrowbody aircraft (200 A320 family aircraft and 145 737s, with more of each coming). This led the carrier to begin, on May 1, a domestic express service called A-Class Express, which hopes to take a slice of the rapidly growing domestic express market in China. The first cities to see this service were Guangzhou, Urumqi, Shenyang, Shenzhen, Harbin, Changchun, Dalian, Zhengzhou, Wuhan, Changsha, Haikou and Shantou, with more points coming soon.
© Photo: Alex Kwanten