China Airlines today (December 16) celebrates its 61st anniversary. Its first Boeing 777F is also ready to enter service. The new 777F twin-engine freighters being introduced by China Airlines will bring greater performance and fuel efficiency to the carrier’s freighter fleet, paving the way for the launch of next-generation air cargo services in the post-pandemic era.
China Airlines Chairman Su-chien Hsieh said that the freighter fleet played a crucial role even as the COVID-19 pandemic brought the global airline industry almost to a standstill. The carrier not only put all 18 of its 747-400 freighters into service but also increased weekly freighter flights by 20%. It also put the belly hold of its passenger aircraft to good use and pioneered the use of passenger cabins for carrying cargo. Cargo revenues between January and November this year were increased by 83% over the same period last year as a result, becoming a lifeline for China Airlines during these trying times. Special appreciation must therefore go to all employees and the cargo services team in particular.
Hsieh also noted that the six 777F China Airlines has on order are slated to be delivered between 2020 and 2023. The first 777F arrived in Taiwan on December 1 and a further two will be delivered before the end of January 2021. The three 777F will give China Airlines Cargo Services an edge over the competition once they all enter service. The fleet of 21 freighters will pave the way for a new generation of air cargo services by China Airlines in the post-pandemic era. The demand for freighter aircraft from vaccine transport and the general freight market should help boost cash flow for China Airlines Cargo Services.
The first China Airlines 777F has the aircraft registration of B-18771. Using the aircraft number of a 747F retired in 2004 symbolizes the passing of the baton between generations. The new freighter will carry on China Airlines’ legacy of being the sixth largest air cargo carrier in the world and take it to even greater heights. To welcome the latest addition to the China Airlines family and give the new fleet its own distinctive look, an all-new livery was developed that retains “CARGO” in corporate colors and carries on the China Airlines spirit through the plum blossom. The freighter will soon be assigned to flying freight routes in Asia and North America as soon as it has completed preparation and validation.
The 777F features twin engines that translate into 20% lower fuel consumption and a range longer than the 747F. It can therefore be flown on trans-Pacific routes with fewer payload restrictions and better hold utilization. The aircraft is equipped with fully temperature-controlled cargo holds and the main cargo hold can be fitted with cargo pallet restraint systems used for carrying semiconductor machinery and engines. High-value cargo such as precision instruments and temperature-controlled goods can all be carried in the future. China Airlines is the first carrier in Taiwan to be certified by the IATA Center of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics (CEIV Pharma) for temperature-controlled cold chain logistics so far.