The Chart:

Monday, September 29, 2014

Air China Gets a 747-8I

Today Air China became the second operator of the 747-8I, taking delivery of line 1499 (RC066) B-2485. Initially planned to fly short haul between Beijing and Shanghai and other Chinese cities, the international plan is still unclear for Air China's 748. Three more frames are soon to follow this year, with the remaining three frames being delivered next year.

The Man
Awesome shots by moonm

Update: Looks like international operations will start January 2nd 2015, Beijing to Frankfurt. I'm hoping Los Angeles isn't far behind, which it seems like it won't be.

Watch this bird come together:

And a great promo video:

Monday, September 15, 2014

It Came From the Desert, Part n

Line 1485 (RC526) JA16KZ for Nippon Cargo Airline returned from banishment to the desert today. It looks like NCA is making moves to accommodate their new frames and transfer over to a 747-8F majority fleet. Last year they returned 747-400 JA02KZ to its lessor (who just happened to sell it to Kalitta recently), and now they've unloaded JA01KZ and JA03KZ as well.

Those are some young 747-400s, and it looks like these aren't Boeing gifted trade in deals, being lease returns. I don't know the exact numbers, but I wouldn't be surprised if there are stiff penalties for returning a new 747 after eight years (or even worse, selling it if they own it, as market value on 747-400s has plummeted). So it's obvious that the 747-8 really kicks a 747-400's ass enough to make these moves desirable. Line 1485 will probably deliver after line 1489, but before 1487. And remember, NCA still has six more frames on order which have yet to even be allocated in the production list.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cathay Pacific possibly taking more 747-8Fs

This article says they have three on order. They're trying to get out from under most of their 747-400Fs by trading them in to Boeing. Some of these 744Fs are quite new, and should create an excellent opportunity for second tier freight operators like Kalitta to replace their 747-200s and 747-400BCFs.

ABC Wants Another 747-8F, Quick

AirBridgeCargo has publicly stated they're taking a new 747-8F for delivery in October of this year. That's exciting news, but the interesting question is "Which one?". Here are the realistic options:
  • Line 1437 - The last remaining Atlas NTU still unspoken for. She's a bit heavy, but she's extremely available. Currently this frame is down in Victorville for some unknown reason. Could she be getting new engines and paint? Likelihood: HIGH.
  • Line 1485/7/9) - NCA has three frames prepared and waiting for delivery. Two are in storage in the desert, one is at KPAE. NCA has a history of swapping 747-400F frames with ABC. However, line 1489, the newest one and still at KPAE, was just painted in NCA colors after being bare for a year. This points to NCA still planning on taking all three frames. Likelihood: LOW
  • Line 1501/2 (Customer code) It's unclear who these frames are for. Originally they were suspected to be for Silk Way, but now one has a grey tail and the other is unpainted. They've both flown and are airworthy. My main reservation is that they have the same customer code, which indicates they're likely for the same customer. Unless something has changed. Likelihood: MEDIUM HIGH
AirBridgeCargo also stated they want to eventually move to an all 747-8F fleet. They currently have eight 747-400. One is set to be returned to the lessor, and it was just replaced by line 1376. All of ABC's 747-400 frames are quite young. If they're leases, that doesn't matter so much. This means there could be potential for six to eight 747-8F orders over the next few years.

UPDATE: Looks like the answer is - Line 1501 (RC671) VQ-BVR... which really makes me wonder what the hell is going on with line 1437.

UPDATE 2: Nope. Line 1505 (RC564?) VQ-BVR