|Quoting hilram (Reply 62):|
Possible B748 orders have been discussed a lot before, but I would like to bring up one topic in this thread:
The LIKELY B748orders:
2 x B748i for USAF (to replace the two VC25's)
2 x B748i for US Strategic Command (to replace the two E-6 Mercury)
1 x B748i/BBJ hybrid for Air Maroc (for combined Royal VIP and Hajj pilgrimage service)
5 x B748i for Turkish Airlines. They have announced the need for a VLA because of slot constrains on IST (Istanbul Ataturk Airport). And the B748 can go to airports that the A388 can not.
I make it to 10 new orders. Apart from an extra freighter or two, I really can not see any more orders coming in. I do not think they will make it to the 35 more they need to break even on the program.
There are a few more that are likely. Air Bridge Cargo has talked openly about replacing all their current non -8Fs with new builds. They took one this year on very short notice, and stated that they have a plan in place to execute on that going forward. That could be potentially 7 frames.
Cargolux has also expressed that they may take more frames both for replacement, up to 11 older 747 frames, as well as potentially for their second hub at Zhengzhou, to start trans-Pacific services.
Air China has been reported to be in discussions for another order that will potentially include a few more -8is.
It has been reported before that the 20th LH
frame, which they cancelled to allow Boeing to continue using the frame for testing during the PIP certification process, is listed for them again. Perhaps there will be a top-up of some number from them.
Regarding the -8F and the air cargo market in general, the issue is much more the modal shift that has occurred during the prolonged economic down-period. Enhancements and improvements have been made to make sea more attractive and cost-efficient, and the move away from time-sensitive shipping in some cases has driven tonnage over to that mode of travel as well. Over the last 6+ quarters, consistent growth has returned and that has been good for the air freight carriers. The reason why it has not resulted in more orders yet is not so much all the belly capacity, that has had some impact for sure, but not necessarily to the extent that it is made out to be. The larger issue is that there was a tremendous surplus of capacity, even just within the existing freighter fleets, due to how much the tonnage levels had fallen during the post 2010 pull-back.
If the air cargo market continues to improve, as Boeing, WorldACD, and IATA predict, then new frames will likely be required both for growth, as well as for replacement of aging fleets.