Ahead of next year’s end to production, the last remaining jumbos have found a home
US aircraft manufacturer Boeing has secured a customer for its final four 747-8 aircraft due to roll off the production line in 2022.
New York-based Atlas Air Worldwide signed an agreement to purchase the -8 Freighters, which it will use to meet growing cargo demand around the globe.
“The 747-8F is the best and most versatile widebody freighter in the market, and we are excited to bolster our fleet with the acquisition of these four aircraft,” said John Dietrich, Atlas Air Worldwide president and chief executive officer. “This significant growth opportunity will enable us to capitalise on strong demand and deliver value for our existing and prospective customers.”
The airframer says that with its maximum payload capacity of nearly 138 tonnes (137,750 kg), the 747-8 Freighter allows customers to access 20% more payload capacity while using 16% less fuel compared to previous-generation 747s. The jet also features 30% quieter engines.
“The 747 will forever hold a special place in aviation history and we are honoured by Atlas Air’s longstanding commitment to the airplane. Atlas Air began operations 28 years ago with a single 747 and it is fitting that they should receive the last 747 production airplanes, ensuring that the ‘Queen of the Skies’ plays a significant role in the global air cargo market for decades to come,” said Stan Deal, president and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “With the global air cargo fleet expected to grow by more than 60% over the next 20 years, we look forward to delivering these airplanes and supporting Atlas Air’s Boeing fleet well into the future.”
Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings – which owns six subsidiaries including Polar Air Cargo, Southern Air and Atlas Air – currently boasts a fleet of 51 jumbos, comprising 41 -400s and ten -8s. It first took delivery of the next-generation variant on May 29, 2012.
Boeing’s 747 programme has produced 1,560 aircraft since launching the jumbo jet more than 50 years ago. In July 2020, the firm announced its decision to complete production of the 747-8 in 2022.