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CX747
Posts: 6255
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 2:54 am

Re: Could Amazon order new freighters ?

Sun Feb 09, 2020 3:44 am

Spacepope wrote:
dstblj52 wrote:
Spacepope wrote:

I'm doubtful Amazon will make their airlift providers take on the A330, and Altavair's media blurb is wishful thinking at best. At many stations there is limited parking spots for freighters and if they're going to lose numbers because of the wide A330 wingspan, they'd be better off putting a 773P2F for more lift in the same parking spot.

But that's introducing a new container size into the system. Right now they can be nimble with the huge 767 fleet and send them to any station (and change up routes at will). I see more 767 conversions for the forseeable future/

There are not a huge number of 767's left in good conditions that don't have crazy cycles or wear on them most of the people who like to keep a new fleet have already sold theirs and anything else is going to start with an expensive d check and 30+ years of airline service, I think we will see some conversions but a good third of the 767 in operations are already with cargo or ACMI operators so there are probably only 100-200 aircraft that make sense to convert left so I suspect we ill see carriers move to used A330's probably mostly 200 at first over time due to their low purchase price and the large numbers available and an easy upgrade path over time.


I understand what you're saying and I used to think the same thing, however we've now seen ATSG sending airframes into conversion that have well over 110000 hours on the clock (but usually fewer than 20,000 cycles). Typical utilization for the Amazon leased 763s is around 3000 hours a year, so getting an additional 10-15 years service out of them isn't too difficult.


Spacepope hit the nail on the head. Amazon's operators have seemed to crack "the 767 code". They are operating older and higher timed 767Fs than most thought was possible 4-5 years ago. The airline has made industry people take a second look and say, "well I guess you CAN do that". The converters have promised a 15-20 year life cycle extension upon conversion completion. With that in mind, the 767F is perfectly placed for what it is being called upon to do. It is the right sized, right cost solution for what is needed and at this time is plug and play for Amazon.

I agree with others on a possible Skycourier order before anything else. Does anyone think that aircraft's linkage to FEDEX has Amazon steer clear?
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
 
Sokes
Posts: 1873
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:48 pm

Re: Could Amazon order new freighters ?

Sun Feb 09, 2020 4:22 am

CX747 wrote:
Spacepope hit the nail on the head. Amazon's operators have seemed to crack "the 767 code". They are operating older and higher timed 767Fs than most thought was possible 4-5 years ago.


And how is that?
Why can't the world be a little bit more autistic?
 
wjcandee
Posts: 9050
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 12:50 am

Re: Could Amazon order new freighters ?

Sun Feb 09, 2020 8:54 am

Sokes wrote:
CX747 wrote:
Spacepope hit the nail on the head. Amazon's operators have seemed to crack "the 767 code". They are operating older and higher timed 767Fs than most thought was possible 4-5 years ago.


And how is that?


ATSG had a lot of experience with older 767s, having acquired several 762s when they were Airborne Express, and later converted several of them at the instruction of DHL after the buyout. ATSG and its leasing arm became big believers in the merits of the 767 as a freighter, and felt that it would best fill the market for a medium-sized freighter, a market that they were pretty-prescient in predicting the size of. Having an in-house full-service airline MRO (Airbone Maintenance and Engineering Services) probably gave them insight to and a lot of tribal knowledge about the type. They're the only vendor other than Boeing that can do the aft bulkhead replacement, for example, and have done a number of them (although fewer than was originally-anticipated as necessary when the AD was being drawn up).

Airborne was always finding innovative ways to squeeze more value from a nickel, from their simple-and-very-effective W&B procedures to the now-abandoned C containers that could go in through the L1 door, obviating the need to cut a cargo door. So I anticipate they learned to identify good quality and value in feedstock, and learned to efficiently keep the aircraft moving as they aged. They recently retired N798AX after flying it all the way to its 50,000-cycle LOV, and even gave it some TLC just 8 months before it ran out of cycles. It had been flying for ABX since it was acquired from ANA in 2005, and ran reliably in heavy use during Peak 2019, until it couldn't legally fly more. Another of their aircraft, N740AX, is the oldest 767 still flying; it's Line Number 6, delivered to DL March 1983 and purchased and converted for ABX in 2006. Airborne Maintenance did a few months of heavy maintenance on it in early 2019, including a bunch of sheet metal work, and it was fully-repainted later that year. It is still flying regularly and reliably for ABX Air, including as a spare for Amazon work.

Now that the used-767 market is strong in the freighter and private-jet space, ATSG's experience in purchasing, converting, maintaining and operating these aircraft appears to be paying off: Airborne Maintenance is now regularly doing heavy maintenance for United, Delta and Atlas, with each cycling aircraft through ILN throughout the year. Indeed, there is a 767 from each of those airlines at ILN right now.

Interestingly, the last couple of 767-300s that Airborne Maintenance has H-checked for DL are aircraft that were heading for retirement before DL decided to keep them flying, choosing Airborne to do that heavy maintenance. ATSG is also doing the maintenance program for private operators like the Patriots and wealthy 767 owners like Len Blavatnik.

Airborne was also an early adopter of the flat-panel cockpit upgrade for the 767, being an early customer of the simple-and-relatively-inexpensive IS&S FPDS solution, which is installed on essentially-all the 767s operated by ATI and ABX Air. Indeed, after installing a few of these on its own aircraft, Airborne became a primary installation vendor for the upgrade, and ATSG is still one of IS&S's largest customers. UPS has now hired them to do all the Rockwell-Collins Flat Panel cockpit upgrade installations on its 767 fleet; UPS currently has 2 aircraft at a time at ILN being given the upgrade, which takes about 2.5 weeks per aircraft.

So, when CAM (ATSG's aircraft-leasing arm) bought N354AA, N1501P, and N153DL out of storage and flew them to ILN, a number of folks were surprised that these low-cycle (roughly-20,000 cycles), high-time aircraft, with 113,000 to 115,000 hours on them, were thought to be good conversion candidates. And yet it appears that the ATSG folks were able correctly to determine that these were viable. Having been maintained by DL and AA in their earlier lives, the first two went through conversion and a heavy check in the normal time frame, and seem to be performing reliably for Amazon. These are the aircraft that Spacepope was referring to.

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