As Emirates prepares to introduce its first Boeing 777 Freighter it has emerged that the airline has halved its planned commitment for new Boeing cargo widebodies.
The airline's Sky Cargo arm had been setto take eight 777Fs and 10 747-8Fs, but a clause in a contract agreed as part of a sale/leaseback deal in July 2008 with the DAE Capital division of Dubai Aerospace Enterprise has enabled it to opt for half that number.
"Emirates SkyCargo has leased back 50% of the freighter aircraft, and has first refusal of the remaining 50%," says the airline.
Boeing delivered the first 777F to Emirates at the end of March and the airline says it plans to take just three more - one of which is due for delivery this year. Boeing continues to list all 18 freighters as on order for Emirates, but it appears that four 777Fs and five 747-8Fs are available for lease from DAE Capital.
Ram Menen, who is divisional senior vice-president of cargo at Emirates, acknowledges that air cargo is experiencing "its toughest period since the beginning of the jet age", but says the airline needs to be prepared for the return of predicted high growth levels.
"In the last 15 years a tremendous amount of work has gone into developing the science of supply chain management," he says. "With globalisation of manufacturing and of the marketplace, reliability of transport plays a very important role."
All the Boeing freighters are powered by General Electric engines, the 777Fs by GE90-115Bs and the 747-8Fs by GEnx-2Bs.