Emirates is on its way to being the biggest international freight carrier in the world, and cargo boss Ram Menen is one of the most respected and knowledgeable (and quotable) leaders in the industry. So when what appeared to be an Emirates press release was issued on 23 January saying the carrier’s SkyCargo division had “significantly boosted its total cargo capacity and expanded its dedicated freighter network with the addition of three new Boeing 777F aircraft,” what seemed like half the world’s transportation media sites immediately headlined the big news.
So, if one of the world’s leading cargo carriers acquired three more 777Fs, why haven’t you read about it here at Cargo Facts? Are we so trailing-edge that we miss out on even the big stories?
The answer is that you didn’t read it here because it didn’t happen. Emirates did not just take delivery of three more 777Fs. Nor did it just increase its freighter network to 12 destinations, as the press release noted and the dozens of media outlets reported.
But if Emirates did not just take delivery of three 777Fs, why did they put out a press release saying they did? Again, the answer is: They did not say that.
Here’s the explanation: Emirates did put out a release on 23 January, and it did say SkyCargo had expanded its capacity with the addition of three 777Fs. But it did not say “last week,” or “this month,” or even “recently.” Although it did not say so explicitly, Emirates was summing up its cargo activity in the first three quarters of the current fiscal year – not announcing that it had just acquired three new freighters.
Why bring this all up here? Certainly not because someone in Emirates’ Public Relations Department was a little careless. That happens. No, what bothers me is how many industry publications simply picked up the “story” and ran with it without giving it even two seconds’ thought. When I saw the release, my first thought was “Wow! Three new 777Fs! I’d better write this up and post it immediately.” And then came the second thought: “Wait a minute, where did Emirates get three 777Fs?” How is that possible? Boeing is not in the habit of delivering three freighters at once, and would have been blowing its own PR trumpet if it had.
Some other source? TNT leases three 777Fs from Guggenheim Aviation Partners, and is in the process of adjusting its long-haul network. Maybe Guggenheim transferred the lease to Emirates? Not likely, but who knows? But no, a quick check with Guggenheim confirmed that no such change had been made. Or was going to be made.
At which point the light came on, and I asked Ram: “Were you referring to aircraft acquired over the last fiscal year?” And of course, the answer was “Yes.”
How could so many publications around the world get this wrong? The story appeared over and over and over again. A quick google search shows it appearing in seven languages (English, German, Hebrew, Italian, Portuguese, Turkish, and Spanish), and in both financial and transportation-specific publications. Including several air cargo-specific publications. All repeating the same quotes, and all implying that Emirates had just now added three new 777Fs.
Magic invisible 777Fs, I guess.