As we recently reported, Saudia Cargo is in the process of re-fleeting, a program which began with retiring the carrier’s long-serving MD-11Fs (now all parked). The first of the replacements for these aircraft has now broken cover, as Cargo Facts can report that the first 777F for Saudia is on the flight line at Paine field and will soon be ready for delivery. The new aircraft (msn: 60337) is seen here returning from the paint shop at Victorville.
Saudia will become the 16th carrier to operate the 777F, which is already operated by all of Saudia’s major middle east competitors (Emirates, Etihad, Qatar), and the third to incorporate both the 777F and the 747-8F (the carrier operates two) in its fleet, after Korean Air and Etihad (who lease a 747-8F from Atlas).
The fleet changes are a consequence of a decision by the General Authority of Civil Aviation of Saudia Arabia that all of the nation’s carriers must remove planes over 20 years of age from their fleets. This means fleet changes for Air Atlanta Icelandic and myCargo as well. Both of these carriers lease 20+ year old 747-400s to Saudia for cargo operations (six from Air Atlanta and three from MyCargo/ACT).
For more on the impact on Saudia’s lessors, click here.
Photo: © Alex Kwanten