Cargolux Boeing 747-8

Cargolux CEO: more orders for Boeing 747-8 freighters coming

Cargolux Boeing 747-8

Cargolux is one of the world’s biggest airlines dedicated to air freight. And while much of the world’s economy has recovered, the air cargo market has been slower to catch up.

But now flying freight is on a roll with industry forecasts predicting air freight to grow four to five percent each year.

The lag in air freight traffic has not been good for the Boeing 747 production line, which is currently makes 1.5 of the jumbo jets each month, as it prepares to slow down slightly to 1.3 airplanes per month. After the first 747 went into service in 1970, some have wondered if the 747s days are numbered. Maybe not.

Cargolux recently took delivery of the 12th of 14 new 747-8 freighters on order.

“They need to continue to produce them,” said Cargolux Airlines CEO Dirk Reich.

Last week, Reich was in town for delivery of that jet, which is the airline’s 30th. Reich says he would like to see delivery of the 50th. Cargolux, which is based in Luxembourg, only flies the 747.

The 747-8F’s nose is hinged and which opens for loading. That opening nose is a major selling point for Boeing’s jumbo freighter. Other than military planes and some planes flown commercially by Russia, other production freighters have to be loaded from doors on the side.

Boeing also makes a new passenger version of the 747 known as the 747-8 Intercontinental. But when Boeing decided to upgrade its 747 in both length and fuel efficiency, it was making a big bet on 747s unique position in the cargo market. The first 747-8 test airplane was not a passenger version as is typical in the industry. The first 747-8 was a freighter.


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