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Faro
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Cargo Aircraft Economics

Sat Jul 07, 2018 8:18 pm

Why is it economical for cargo airlines to operate old aircraft? What benefits of cargo operations compensate for these frames’ inevitably higher maintenance costs?


Faro
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KAUSpilot
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Re: Cargo Aircraft Economics

Sat Jul 07, 2018 8:33 pm

Simply put, it's the number of flight cycles the aircraft undergoes. Most cargo jets do one or two flights per day and many get the weekends off. A passenger airline's widebody jets are often flying around-the-clock minus the time they need to unload and load passengers. The narrow bodies are probably doing 4-5 flights per day, or flying around-the-clock also. This means a jet can usually fly more in terms of years at a cargo airline than it could in a passenger operation, because pressurization cycles are usually the life limiting factor on the airframe, and passenger airlines fly more cycles per day/week. Another reason is that the older jets are often "paid off" (no loans & interest). Since it's not usually necessary to fly the latest jets for marketing/customer service reasons as is the case for passenger ops, the cost of ownership outside of maintenance costs can be lower. Also, much like a car, it's obviously cheaper to acquire older jets in the first place.

However, many cargo airlines such as Cathay, UPS, FedEx, Atlas, DHL Air UK, etc do in fact regularly order factory new freighters.

Anyway, I hope this helps, I'm sure I will be corrected in short order if any of my points are incorrect.
 
PPVRA
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Re: Cargo Aircraft Economics

Tue Jul 10, 2018 3:44 am

I was perusing airfleets.net and there seems to be about 500 757/767/300/310 freighters on the market, listed as active in their fleets with companies like fedex, ups, dhl and atlas.

These aircraft have payloads of roughly 100-120k lbs.

Can a new, clean sheet, dedicated freighter design compete with adapted and converted pax models that have established fleets? If so, what are some unique design characteristics that a dedicated freighter could have that an airliner lacks?
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Cargo Aircraft Economics

Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:16 am

PPVRA wrote:
I was perusing airfleets.net and there seems to be about 500 757/767/300/310 freighters on the market, listed as active in their fleets with companies like fedex, ups, dhl and atlas.

These aircraft have payloads of roughly 100-120k lbs.

Can a new, clean sheet, dedicated freighter design compete with adapted and converted pax models that have established fleets? If so, what are some unique design characteristics that a dedicated freighter could have that an airliner lacks?


Freighter requirements aren't different enough to make dedicated freighters worth it unless you're talking airlift type aircraft like the C-17 or An-124 that have rough field and roll-on/roll-off capabilities.

Useful feature:
- Level deck when on the ground. Note the 330 freighter gear hump in context. The passenger 330 has a non-level deck when on the ground.
- Straight through loading with the flight deck out of the way like on the 747F.
- Stronger structure than a pax aircraft.
- Strong enough floor for loads.
- Deck layout that optimises container loading. This was a problem for any 380 freight variants, which is why only a Package Freighter was offered.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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AirlineCritic
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Re: Cargo Aircraft Economics

Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:51 am

The bottom line is capital cost vs. operations cost and in particular fuel. Newer aircraft are more efficient, but if you only fly a limited amount per unit of time, does the saved fuel cost justify the acquisition cost for the new plane?
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: Cargo Aircraft Economics

Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:20 pm

It would be interesting to know how a new freighter is used as opposed to a used one. Consistent with previous posters the new ones would spend more time in the air (although that would not take cycles into account).
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PPVRA
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Re: Cargo Aircraft Economics

Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:38 pm

Starlionblue wrote:
PPVRA wrote:
I was perusing airfleets.net and there seems to be about 500 757/767/300/310 freighters on the market, listed as active in their fleets with companies like fedex, ups, dhl and atlas.

These aircraft have payloads of roughly 100-120k lbs.

Can a new, clean sheet, dedicated freighter design compete with adapted and converted pax models that have established fleets? If so, what are some unique design characteristics that a dedicated freighter could have that an airliner lacks?


Freighter requirements aren't different enough to make dedicated freighters worth it unless you're talking airlift type aircraft like the C-17 or An-124 that have rough field and roll-on/roll-off capabilities.

Useful feature:
- Level deck when on the ground. Note the 330 freighter gear hump in context. The passenger 330 has a non-level deck when on the ground.
- Straight through loading with the flight deck out of the way like on the 747F.
- Stronger structure than a pax aircraft.
- Strong enough floor for loads.
- Deck layout that optimises container loading. This was a problem for any 380 freight variants, which is why only a Package Freighter was offered.


What about alternatives to wing+tube design?

Blended wing-bodies have disadvantages because of passenger issues. Shouldn’t be an issue for cargo.
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
PPVRA
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Re: Cargo Aircraft Economics

Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:53 pm

Even for just a tube design.... the 767 was dimensioned for passengers, passenger systems, passenger gates. Longer routes, rather than shorter hops. There’s gotta be some additional opportunities to optimize a freighter.

edit: perhaps a higher wing would put fuselage closer to the ground? That has got to be useful.
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
KAUSpilot
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Re: Cargo Aircraft Economics

Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:46 am

frmrCapCadet wrote:
It would be interesting to know how a new freighter is used as opposed to a used one. Consistent with previous posters the new ones would spend more time in the air (although that would not take cycles into account).


I can tell you that where I work, one fleet has mostly factory-built freighters purchased directly from the manufacturer and another fleet is composed almost entirely of converted passenger airplanes.

The fleet composed of the factory built new freighters are almost always being flown, never sitting unless they're loading, unloading, or undergoing extended maintenance. The fleet type composed of conversions sits on the ground more hours per day than it flies.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Cargo Aircraft Economics

Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:26 am

BWB has its advantages, but apparently there is not enough demand to justify the development of a dedicated model.

PPVRA wrote:
Even for just a tube design.... the 767 was dimensioned for passengers, passenger systems, passenger gates. Longer routes, rather than shorter hops. There’s gotta be some additional opportunities to optimize a freighter.

edit: perhaps a higher wing would put fuselage closer to the ground? That has got to be useful.


High wing to put the fuselage closer to the ground is certainly useful for ground handling. The downside is that it increases weight. Landing gear has to be either wing mounted and long, or body mounted with extra structure in the fuselage. Plus the wing spar now goes through your cargo deck unless you raise the wing even more, which has aerodynamic implications.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo

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