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Why Do Cargo Co's Use Old/ Undesirable Fleets?  
User currently offlineBigo747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (15 years 5 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 2735 times:

Everyone knows all the old DC10's, MD11's, and soon 747's are going to cargo companies like FedEx. Why is it that these companies seem fine using these planes, while the airlines are gettingrid of them so fast? Shouldnt the cargo's want the most efficient planes too if the current ones are so bad?


13 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineTupolev154B2 From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1332 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (15 years 5 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 2682 times:

They use them because their original operators don't want them, so they are available.

User currently offlineAirbus Lover From Malaysia, joined Apr 2000, 3248 posts, RR: 9
Reply 2, posted (15 years 5 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 2679 times:

because pax will complain if the plane is old....but cargo planes dun carry pax! and these old planes are cheap......!

though they are old, they still can undergo some heavy cargo....... like the diesel 10, for example....payload+range is what cargo coompanies want!

correct me if i am wrong

User currently offlineCactusA319 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 2918 posts, RR: 23
Reply 3, posted (15 years 5 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 2670 times:

Even though they are not that cheap to operate, they are pretty cheap to acquire upfront, and I think its sometimes better to fly cargo than to fly pax. There is constant demand for hauling cargo, while the pax market tends to fluctuate more and has more up and downs.

Also there is a big surplus of these older planes such as the DC-8's, -10's L10's etc. that can carry tons of cargo long distances, and they're available NOW, instead of waiting for them to come off the assembly line.

User currently offlineHighliner2 From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 697 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (15 years 5 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 2656 times:

Who says older iron is undesirable?......Haha and CactusA319 is absolutely right........aircraft being resold by an airline or leasing company are much cheaper than new planes. The cargo sector is a very competitive one and the lower the costs the higher the profits!

Go Cubs!
User currently offlineMr.BA From Singapore, joined Sep 2000, 3423 posts, RR: 20
Reply 5, posted (15 years 5 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 2638 times:

But let's hope they do really maintain these workhorses well!!!


Boeing747 万岁!
User currently offlineCeilidh From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (15 years 5 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2632 times:

Actually, it's not that simple.

There are two very distinct sectors in the cargo business - the express package business (such as FedEx, UPS etc) who have very low utilisations but have relatively high yields on a per kilo basis; and the general cargo airlines, which have higher utilisations but lower yields.

The express operators can afford to spend higher amounts of money on newer aircraft (such as the MD11, A310, B767 etc) as they can amortise it over longer periods and have the greater cashflows with which to justify their acquisition. Direct operating costs (fuel, salaries etc) are important for these operators.

The general cargo operators tend not to have the luxury of high cashflows available, and therefore are restricted to flying low capital cost aircraft - even if it means they have to spend more on their direct operating costs.

General cargo operators have had their businesses seriously eroded by airlines selling belly cargo at mere pennies per kilo - after all, the cost to the airline of that cargo space is simply the added cost of fuel to get it there.

User currently offlineRayChuang From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 8360 posts, RR: 4
Reply 7, posted (15 years 5 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 2605 times:

Actually, these "old" airliners being used as cargo planes also require a LOT of rebuilding on the airframe itself.

Not only is the interior completely rebuilt for cargo-only operation, but usually the company that does the conversion (Boeing in the case of the MD-10/MD-11 cargo conversion) does an overhaul of the plane to the point they effectively give the plane "zero hour" airframe time.

Mostly likely, the MD-10's will be switched over to two-pilot operation with a new cockpit.

User currently offlineCorey777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (15 years 5 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 2575 times:

...The cargo sector is a very competitive one and the lower the costs the higher the profits!...

In that case, wouldn't cargo co's find (new) Russian a/c desirable? The pax comfort issues would be a nonissue, and Russian a/c tend to be cheaper that US or EU built aircraft. Maybe that would be a starting point to Russia's entry into the western aerospace market.


User currently offlinePatroni From Luxembourg, joined Aug 1999, 1403 posts, RR: 12
Reply 9, posted (15 years 5 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 2571 times:

In fact there are also some "general" cargo airlines (in distinction to the express integrators like Fedex etc). Who put emphasis on the transport quality and reliability.

Two of them are Cargolux and Lufthansa Cargo. Cargolux operates a fleet of 10 B747-400F's with an average age of about 3 years, LH Cargo still has some 747-200F's but added a bigger number of new MD11F's to the fleet.

The reasons are obvious : New cargo aircraft offer a higher product quality, e.g. the 747-400F has 5 seperate climatization zones, allowing to fly horses and frozen fish on the same flight without endangering any of the commodities due to wrong climatization.
The dispatch reliability of newer aircraft is also higher, let alone the fuel consumption and crew costs (the 747-400F or MD11 only use a 2-man crew).
In addition, Cargolux is - as far as I know - the only Cargo airline which offers nonstop flights from the US West Coast to Europe.. a 747-200F, MD11 or DC-10F has to make a fuel stop enroute.

So one cannot generalize that Cargo airlines always have old and ugly fleets....

Best regards,


User currently offlineMeister808 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 974 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (15 years 5 months 3 days ago) and read 2536 times:

They use the old airframes b/c they are cheap. Most likely, however, the cockpits have been upgraded. Take the MD-10 for example...


Twin Cessna 812 Victor, Minneapolis Center, we observe your operation in the immediate vicinity of extreme precipitation
User currently offlineSoku39 From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 1797 posts, RR: 8
Reply 11, posted (15 years 5 months 3 days ago) and read 2531 times:

luggage does not care how new the plane is PAX do simple as that

The Ohio Player
User currently offlineJETPILOT From United States of America, joined May 1999, 3130 posts, RR: 27
Reply 12, posted (15 years 5 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 2520 times:

Why do some people buy used cars, and some buy new.

It's based on a finances. I can name plenty of Cargo companies that buy new...Cargolux, Fed-Ex, UPS, Lufthansa, Atlas etc. And I can name plenty of pax carriers who buy junk...AirTran, PanAm, Omni, Spirit, Carnival, Trade Winds etc.

It all comes down to what you can afford. No other reason.

Boieng estimates another 20,000 freighters by the year 2020. Most comming from the used market.

User currently offlineUSAirways737 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 1026 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (15 years 5 months 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 2484 times:

"carriers who buy junk...AirTran,"

I didnt know that 717s were considered junk already.

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