This was posted a few days ago in the HK
Standard, about converting used 744's to freighters...
Cathay Pacific Airways and Hong Kong Dragon Airlines (Dragonair) were united last night in welcoming Boeing's decision to launch its long-awaited passenger-to-freighter conversion programme for Boeing 747-400 jumbo jets.
Both airlines have plans to buy aircraft for conversion, while Cathay Pacific is mulling the possibility of changing some of its older 747-400 passenger planes into all-cargo aircraft.
The move is also a welcome boost for Taikoo (Xiamen) Aircraft Engineering (Taeco), in which Cathay Pacific has a stake and which is also indirectly owned by Swire Pacific.
This follows confirmation by Boeing that Taeco, 49.6 per cent owned by Swire offshoot Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering, will convert the first three aircraft. Boeing will provide detailed engineering design work and oversight, while Taeco will do the actual conversion.
Commenting on the launch of the programme, Cathay Pacific corporate development director Tony Tyler told The Standard: ``We have been talking to Boeing. We are very interested and clearly it is a good development. It provides another source for freighters and also prolongs the economic lives of all 747-400s.
``It is also good for Taeco's business as well.''
Dragonair chief executive Stanley Hui told The Standard: ``Yes, this is very good news for airlines which are interested in the 747-400 freighters.''
Dragonair is planning to buy or lease another five or six freighters by 2008. They are likely to be 747-400s that have been converted to freighters. But the airline has not decided whether to buy the passenger aircraft and then have them converted, or buy the planes already altered to an all-freighter configuration.
Announcing its conversion programme, Boeing senior vice-president Mike Cave said: ``There has been tremendous customer interest in Boeing offering a 747-400 passenger to freighter modification, and the customer knows that if it's a Boeing upgrade, designed and supported by Boeing, its the same quality as they can expect in a new plane.''
Boeing said the first airlines, which could include Cathay Pacific and Dragonair, would launch the 747-400 Special Freighter conversion programme this year. The first aircraft would enter service in late 2005.
The converted planes will have a large cargo side door with an internal layout that would be identical to newbuild 747-400 freighters and would be capable of carrying 113 tonnes about 7,600 kilometres.
The longer upper deck of the Special Freighter will include seating for up to 19 people.