By Charlotte Seet
China Airlines Orders Four Boeing 777F Freighters
With its team of approximately 800 cargo employees worldwide, China Airlines was able to continually expand its freight network that eventually led to the China Airlines Cargo business soaring past new heights, even so making last year the best-ever year in the operation’s 62-year history – as air cargo revenue was up 186 percent above the pre-pandemic year of 2019, which nearly balanced out a 96 percent drop in passenger revenue.
This was all made possible because the airline switched to a cargo-centric business model that enabled its fleet of 21 freighters to be fully utilized, China Airlines kept the continuity of supply for economic growth goods and everyday necessities ranging from auto parts, semiconductor chips to actual vehicles and high-precision wafer machinery, amidst the usual epidemic supplies such as masks and personal protective equipment.
Cargo Focused, Cargo Ready
Currently, China Airlines hails as the fifth largest air cargo carrier in the world and having undoubtedly seen the positive effects of air cargo, the airline has decided to continue mounting heavier focus on its cargo operations – but it would require much more than its current fleet of 18 Boeing 747F and three 777F freighters.
This is why China Airlines has decided to purchase four new Boeing 777F freighters to aid in the effort of capturing new market opportunities as air cargo demand rapidly grows around the globe. This ongoing fleet acquisition program will boost operating performance by balancing network development and market movements against the aircraft replacement schedule.
“The 777 Freighter has played a critical role in our efforts to maintain profitability during the pandemic, and these additional airplanes will be an integral part of our long-term growth strategy,” said China Airlines Chairman Hsieh Su-Chien in a press release. “We are excited to add more 777 Freighters due to their operational efficiency and reliability. Our fleet modernization program will enable us to deliver added value to our customers, especially as the global supply chain continues to evolve.”
China Airlines had already begun taking delivery of six 777F freighters in December 2020. Three have been delivered so far with two more slated for 2022 and one more lined up in 2023; delivery of the four newly ordered 777F freighters will commence in 2023 and be completed in 2024.
It definitely is a smart move made by the Taiwanese flag carrier to expand its freighter fleet, as besides the last year being a blooming year of records for its cargo business – it was just as a booming year for Taiwan’s exports as well as it rose a record-high of 29.4 percent.
And considering that the 777F freighter is currently the world’s largest twin-engine freighter with a maximum revenue payload of 102 tonnes, as well as being slightly more environmental with a 17% reduction in fuel use and CO2 emissions per tonne compared to prior generation airplanes – the freighter then allows for China Airlines to make lesser stops on long-haul routes, further reducing associated expenses such as landing and parking fees.
Additionally, the main cargo hold can be fitted with cargo pallet restraint systems used for carrying semiconductor machinery and engines, providing high-value cargo such as precision instruments and temperature-controlled goods with optimal carriage services – going in line with what China Airlines have been transporting and much more.