The Chart:

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Seattle Seahawks to Start Air Freight Services

Due to flagging interest in the football team, the Seattle Seahawks are diversifying their business, purchasing one 747-8F initially. Line 1437 (RC573) finally gets to serve some commercial purpose!

Photo source

In all seriousness, I don't think the Seahawks have much of a chance, but I'm no Denver fan so best of luck.

Friday, January 24, 2014

First Flight for JA16KZ

This morning line 1485 (RC526) JA16KZ for Nippon Cargo Airlines went up on a B1 flight. It looks like NCA is sticking to the plan they described over a year ago, taking three 747-8Fs in 2013, and three more in 2014. There was some uncertainty as to whether they meant calender year or fiscal year (ending in March or April). As for when they'll take the last six they have on order (they ordered a total of 14), things are still unclear.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Last BBJ Rolls Out, Atlas Woes (Damn You Akbar!)

Line 1495 (RC009) for Abu Dhabi Presidential Flight, the last scheduled BBJ, rolled out yesterday. I don't really like BBJs. I mean, I like the occasionally interesting liveries, and really there isn't a 747 I don't love deeply, but what really bugs me about BBJs is that they're just kind of a waste of a perfectly good frame. Especially for a jumbo jet. A jumbo jet should be carrying large quantities of stuff to far away places day after day. A BBJ carries a couple people maybe once in a while. I doubt these BBJ's will ever even log 5,000 hours. For an example, lets look in on Lufthansa 747-8I line 1443 (RC022) D-ABYA. After about two years in service she has almost 10,000 hours in the air, and has carried over 400,000 people, not to mention tens of thousands of tons of cargo (roughly calculating) to destinations all over the world.

Now take line 1446 (RC004) HZ-HMS1. Cue trombone: wah wah wah wahhhhhhhhh...

Sitting around for over a year in Basel Switzerland with about 20 hours on the clock, waiting to eventually get some ostentatious interior, so that one day she may fly ten or less people to a ski vacation in the Alps two or three times a year. Or whatever. Anyways, I know it's good business for Boeing, but as 747 enthusiasts I'm sure you get my point.

In case you haven't heard, Atlas got dumped by British Airways. Specifically, Atlas subsidiary Global Supply Systems' contract with British Airways parent International Airlines Group will lapse in April of this year, and the three 747-8Fs that flew with the British Airways livery will be returned. IAG stated that they don't need the capacity anymore, what with all the belly space they have in their passenger airliners. However, they'll be leasing capacity to Hong Kong on Qatar 777Fs. Something about that sound familiar? Well yes, you're not mistaken; our wonderful friend Akbar Al Baker is at it again, insidiously undermining the 747-8F with every opportunity he can get. You might remember him from late 2012 when he tried to get Cargolux to dump their remaining 747-8F orders and use his Qatar 777Fs instead, before getting rejected and running home in tears. This time he seems to have landed a successful blow. Hope you're unhappy Akbar!

It's unclear whether Atlas has work lined up for these soon to be unemployed 747-8Fs, but they'll need to be repainted rather soon one way or the other. Atlas did recently land a new Hong Kong based contract, so perhaps these frames will help out there, although I was hoping Atlas was going to take up formerly rejected line 1437 (RC573) again instead. Doesn't look good for that to happen now.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

End of the Desert Saga

Today line 1479 (RC525) JA15KZ for Nippon Cargo Airlines had a delivery flight in the midst of heavy fog at KPAE. This frame was actually delivered in December of 2013, but sat around for a month waiting to fly to Tokyo. This was the last of five frames that were stored long term in the desert at Pinal Airpark. Hopefully that won't happen again.

And a look back at the chart now vs what it was in May 2012:

Thursday, January 9, 2014

2013 Orders Update

Update: Fresh out of the paint hanger, line 1493 (RC641) GECAS's first frame is headed for Azerbaijan based Silk Way Airlines as 4K-SW881. This means GECAS's second probably is too. Silk Way was supposed to be in the market for four 747-8Fs, so this does make sense, as they have two more later frames already likely allocated.

Photo by Matt Cawby

It seems more and more likely that the two unidentified 747-8I orders are the last two frames for Air China (frames six and seven), so I don't think they'll end up being a big surprise when revealed.

As an addendum to the 2013 wrap up post, final orders for 2013 stand at 17 gross, 12 net (taking into account the five 747-8Fs cancelled by Dubai Aerospace Enterprise in August). Hopefully most cancellations have been shaken from the tree now, so going forward gross orders will equal net orders.

And this post is really just an excuse to post a sequence of 787 line 25 returning from her extremely belated first flight this morning. I remember this frame sitting for an eternity, taped up on the tower apron, but look at her now.

Monday, January 6, 2014

New 747-8I Orders

Boeing updated their final order and delivery tally for 2013, and they're showing that they did in fact deliver 24 frames last year. But more exciting are six new firm orders for the 747-8I. Transaero finally firmed up their four MOUs, and two more are showing for an unidentified customer. Let the speculation begin! Top up? New operator? BBJ? El Presidente?

Meanwhile, line 1494 (RC032) D-ABYM for Lufthansa finally really rolled out, and line 1492 (RC031) D-ABYL went up for a first flight. Also, line 1493 (RC641) for GE Capital Aviation Services entered then paint hanger, so we should see who she's for in a week or so.

Here's line 1492 returning from her B1:

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

And that was 2013

Boeing delivered 24 747-8s in 2013, down from 31 last year.

Line 1488 (RC549) HL7624 for Korean Air Cargo slipped out just ahead of the bell, flying off to Seoul on the 30th.

Photo thanks to moonm.

One delivered 747-8F, line 1479 (RC525) JA15KZ for Nippon Cargo has yet to fly away.

What's to look forward to in 2014? Well, the new 1.5 frame per month assembly rate should slow things down, and I estimate only 16-20 deliveries for the year. The 1500th 747 should be rolled out and delivered to Lufthansa. Air China and Korean Airlines should be the second and third operators of the 747-8I this year. And hopefully, some more orders!

Here's to an auspicious new year for the 747.