Emirates SkyCargo to invest in new freighters, aircraft conversions

Emirates SkyCargo has signed a purchase agreement with Boeing for two new Boeing 777-F aircraft, which will be delivered in April and June 2022 respectively. And has also signed an agreement with Israel Aerospace Industries for the conversion of four Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft into full freighters.

Emirates SkyCargo to invest in new freighters, aircraft conversions
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Emirates SkyCargo is all set to introduce two new Boeing 777Fs in 2022 and convert its four Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft into freighters between 2023 and 2024. The freighters will be operated by Emirates SkyCargo, which currently operates an all-Boeing fleet of 10 777 Freighters and also carries cargo on Emirates' 134 777 passenger airplanes.

His Highness (HH) Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group said, “The last two years have put the spotlight on the importance of supply chain connectivity and the availability of air cargo capacity to global communities and economies.

“Emirates plays a key role in making essential goods available to customers and consumers globally through the capacity available on our wide-body fleet, the reach of our global network, and the advanced infrastructure at our Dubai hub. Today, we announce an investment of AED 3.6 billion (US$ 1 billion) to further expand our freighter capacity. This underscores our commitment to supporting our customers’ requirements, and reflects our confidence in our future growth and status as one of the largest airline cargo carriers in the world.”

New Boeing 777-Fs

Emirates SkyCargo has signed a purchase agreement with Boeing for two new Boeing 777-F aircraft, which will be delivered in April and June 2022 respectively. Emirates SkyCargo was the launch customer for the Boeing 777-F and the aircraft has been at the heart of the carrier’s operations since 2009. The addition of two new freighter aircraft will strengthen Emirates SkyCargo’s customer offering allowing for increased agility and flexibility in its operations.

Over the years, the Boeing 777 freighter has been a critical pillar of Emirates SkyCargo operations, with the aircraft operating scheduled and charter flights to destinations across six continents.

“We are honored that Emirates has once again placed its confidence in the 777 Freighter as the backbone of its global network,” said Ihssane Mounir, Boeing senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing. “As the largest operator of 777 passenger and freighter models worldwide, Emirates’ success is a testament to the 777’s market-leading efficiency, improved sustainability and incredible range.”

Boeing 777-300ER conversions

Emirates SkyCargo has signed an agreement with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for the conversion of four Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft into full freighters. The conversion programme for the four aircraft will commence in early 2023 and is expected to conclude in 2024 with each aircraft taking up to an estimated five months for the process.

The converted freighters will provide up to 10 additional pallet positions over the Boeing 777-F production freighter, allowing for more low-density cargo, including e-commerce goods. They will boost the main deck cargo capacity that Emirates SkyCargo can deploy on its global routes, with a particular focus on trade lanes where volumetric cargo loads tend to be high. The converted aircraft’s payload capabilities are very close to those of the Boeing 777-F production freighters and the twin-engine aircraft will be more efficient per tonne of cargo carried than the industry standard freighters.

“IAI is proud to partner with the brightest minds in the region to create solutions to the global demand for cargo aircraft,” said IAI CEO and President, Boaz Levy. “IAI’s Aviation Group, the world’s leader in cargo conversions, is currently converting the first B777-300ER aircraft, together with GECAS, in order to provide the most optimal solution for the rise in e-commerce. Emirates’ decision to select IAI for the conversion of its passenger aircraft to cargo configuration is a testament to IAI's professional capabilities and IAI’s longstanding international recognition in the field.”

In addition to its freighter aircraft, Emirates offers cargo capacity in the belly hold of its passenger aircraft. During the Covid-19 pandemic, responding to the surging demand from the industry for the transportation of vital goods such as PPE, medical supplies and food in light of the overall reduction in global cargo capacity due to reduced passenger flight operations, Emirates SkyCargo introduced new measures including operating cargo-only flights on its passenger aircraft (passenger freighters) and modifying Boeing 777-300ER aircraft by removing seats from Economy Class to make additional room for cargo (mini-freighters). Emirates SkyCargo currently has a fleet of 16 mini-freighters.

Emirates SkyCargo operated more than 27,800 flights on its passenger freighters and mini-freighters in the one-year period from March 2020, transporting more than 100,000 tonnes of essential cargo including medical supplies and food on these flights.

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