Boeing looking at 777 freight conversion plans as global freighter shortage bites

 

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There is a global lack of widebody freighters. It’s been building for some time.

There is a move afoot to resuscitate the 744 conversion programme rather than scrap everything as has been happening recently. The problem there is the lack of viable donor aircraft.

The 772 however is often found sat about in storage and they haven’t been having a good time finding used owners. Boeing is looking at converting them, because while the cost of doing so is astronomical, it’s still half what it costs to buy a new one and can be done fairly quickly.

The 777F is still being produced at five per month but the order book for new aircraft isn’t that strong, they could potentially sell 748F’s but despite the demand for large aircraft, nobody is exactly knocking the door down to buy them new.

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For many manufacturers this is the time when they start to think about shipping their Christmas stocks to Europe and North America, freighter space is already approaching the demand seen in 2017 which exceeded all records.

Old MD-11F’s are no longer looking so unwanted, stored ones look like they’re being pulled out of storage. Talk of a service life extension that will see some fly until 2030 is rampant.

The fact remains that air freight companies will do almost anything for a cheap widebody, including paying a premium for it, but they just don’t want the hundreds of millions it would cost to buy new, or the massive monthly rentals on new leased aircraft, that may be a burden later on.

The Rolls Royce Trent-1000 issue on Dreamliners is also having an effect. Old 777’s are being diverted to some airliners as stand-in’s, and that’s tightening potential conversion supply even further.

Something has to give, and you can bet it won’t be freight company owners wallets.

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