AirBridge takes first 747-400 freighter

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Boeing has delivered the first 747-400 freighter to enter the fleet of AirBridgeCargo, a subsidiary of Volga-Dnepr Group,

The aeroplane is the sixth 747 freighter in the AirBridge fleet, joining five 747-200/-300 freighters. It is also the first of two 747-400 freighters that AirBridgeCargo will lease from GE Commercial Aviation Services, and the carrier will take an additional 747-400F on lease in the second quarter of 2008.

The Volga-Dnepr Group has also ordered five of Boeing’s 747-8 freighters, the next model in the 747 freighter family which promises improved efficiency.

Gennady Pivovarov, senior vice president of production, AirBridgeCargo, said:  “The 747-400 Freighter will allow us to provide superior service to our customers, while reducing operating costs and increasing reliability and profitability. It will help us to open new routes and explore business opportunities in new markets, in particular North America.”

The most recent Boeing World Air Cargo Forecast suggests that the cargo market between the Commonwealth of Independent States and Europe will grow at an overall average annual rate of 5.7 per cent during the 2005 – 2025 forecast period.

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The 747-400 freighter is the largest commercial cargo transport in service and can carry 113 tonnes of cargo up to 4,450 nautical miles.

In all its versions, the worldwide fleet of 747 freighters — nearly 300 in all — provides more than half the world’s dedicated freighter capacity making it  a key element in the development of air cargo into today’s $52 billion industry.

The 747-8 freighter will be longer than the 747-400F by 5.6 m and enjoy a maximum structural payload capability of 140 tonnes  with a range of 4,475 nautical miles.

Also powered by 787-technology engines, it will achieve the same environmental benefits as the 747-8 Intercontinental. Boeing says that compared to the 747-400, the 747-8 Freighter will have nearly equivalent trip costs and 14 per cent lower ton-mile costs, plus 16 per cent more revenue cargo volume than its predecessor.

The additional 121 cu m of volume means the aeroplane can accommodate four additional main-deck pallets and three additional lower-hold pallets. Operating economics of the 747-8 Freighter will be significantly superior to the A380F.

Boeing says the 747-8F’s empty weight is 82 tonnes  lighter than the A380F, resulting in a 24 per cent lower fuel burn per ton, 20 per cent lower trip costs and 23 per cent lower ton-mile costs.


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