Two Queens of the Sky have been leased by the operator – the first time Emirates has operated the type in six years
Joining its SkyCargo fleet, the two 747-400Fs will complement the carrier’s existing 11 777Fs, giving “immediate capacity” whilst it awaits delivery of five more 777Fs in 2024 and 2025.
Emirates also has 10 of its 777-300ERs going through a conversion programme, with these expected to be rolled out over the next five years – but the airline say the new aircraft won’t be enough to meet the anticipated demand.
It marks the first time Emirates has operated a 747 since previously retiring its freighter types in 2017.
Nabil Sultan, Divisional Senior Vice President, Emirates SkyCargo said: “The medium to long term projections for global air cargo show an upward trajectory of between 3-5%. Combine that Dubai’s strategy to double its foreign trade where multi-modal logistics will play a big role, and the economic activity happening in markets around the Gulf, West Asia, and Africa, and the opportunity for Emirates SkyCargo is clear.
“The 2 new 747-Fs which we have leased will give us immediate capacity, while we wait for delivery of 5 new 777Fs in 2024 and 2025, and 10 777-300ERs to roll out of our conversion program over the next 5 years. We believe even these additional planes will not be sufficient. By then, we’ll have the MRO set-up to quickly and efficiently scale-up our freighter conversion program if we needed to.
“The new aircraft mean we can expand our freighter network and amplify the connectivity with the main Emirates network. The new fleet mix also gives us more flexibility to serve our different customers even better.”
Over the next decade, Emirates plans to double its existing capacity, with over 20 new destinations expected to be added to its freighter network and belly-hold capacity to be increased through the introduction to service of its Airbus A350s in 2024 and 777Xs in 2025.