Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings orders four new B747-8 freighters driven by what it says is particularly strong, continuing growth in the e-commerce and express sectors.
The B747-8Fs are expected to be delivered from May through October 2022 and these aircraft are the last four B747-8Fs that Boeing plans to produce.
The Atlas business model, the company says, has the flexibility to operate these new aircraft for customers, or take advantage of dry-leasing opportunities through its Titan Aviation Leasing subsidiary.
Atlas says its investment in these new aircraft underscores its “ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship through the reduction of noise, aircraft emissions and resource consumption”.
The B747-8F meets or exceeds the strictest International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) emissions standards and meets global noise regulations with unlimited deployment. The advanced engines on the B747-8F reduce noise by approximately 30 per cent compared to the previous generation of aircraft.
“The 747-8F is the best and most versatile widebody freighter in the market, and we are excited to bolster our fleet with the acquisition of these four aircraft,” says John W. Dietrich, Atlas Air Worldwide president and chief executive officer.
“This significant growth opportunity will enable us to capitalise on strong demand and deliver value for our existing and prospective customers. The efficiency and capability of the 747-8F further complements our longstanding focus on leading-edge technology.
“Dedicated freighters – like those operated by our Atlas, Polar and Southern subsidiaries – will continue to be in demand as the global airfreight market, particularly the e-commerce and express sectors, continues to grow. We look forward to continuing to provide world-class service to our customers,” Dietrich continued.
Stan Deal, president and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes comments: “The 747 will forever hold a special place in aviation history and we are honoured by Atlas Air’s longstanding commitment to the airplane. Atlas Air began operations 28 years ago with a single 747 and it is fitting that they should receive the last 747 production airplanes, ensuring that the ‘Queen of the Skies’ plays a significant role in the global air cargo market for decades to come.
“With the global air cargo fleet expected to grow by more than 60 per cent over the next 20 years, we look forward to delivering these airplanes and supporting Atlas Air’s Boeing fleet well into the future.”
The B747-8F provides 20 per cent higher payload capacity and 16 per cent lower fuel consumption than the B747-400F, and has 25 per cent higher capacity than the new-technology B777-200LRF, according to Boeing. It is also the only factory-built freighter with nose-loading capability in production.
Atlas is the world’s largest operator of B747 freighter aircraft, with a total of 53 in its current fleet, including 10 B747-8Fs, 34 B747-400Fs, five passenger B747-400s, and four Large Cargo Freighters (LCFs).