A freighter 744 from Boeing costs in the region of US$180-200 Million. A second hand 744 from BA
will only cost 45 Million plus the freighter conversion costs.
I went to the briefing and was under the impression that no 744s will be added till 2005/6, when the A340s are returned. One of our own 744s is slated to be taken out of service towards the end of next year for Freighter conversion, and we plan to add around 2 freighters per year thereafter, I am assuming all conversions.
It was mentionned that CX
want to use the 744s until they are 25 years old, which is an average of another 13 years of use, possibly as freighters. The same goes for the A340-300s that we own, of which there are 11 of them.
Long term fleet planning was difficult as there is no good replacement for the 744. The A380 is far too big, the A346 and 777-300ER are a little small and the 747EX is at the moment a figment of Boeing's imagination. We will need two long haul aircraft added by 2006 (Plus four 744s to replace the A343s) so maybe we will end up just getting six 744s! At the moment the best replacement for a 744 is another 744!