Singapore Airlines (SIA) expects to phase out its remaining Boeing 747-400 passenger within around three years and is all but ruling out ordering the 747-8 freighter to replace its 747-400 freighters.
CEO Chew Choon Seng told analysts at a briefing this week following the release of fiscal 2007/8 financial results that “I think we would be out of passenger versions of the 747s by about 2010, 2011, thereabouts”.
Star Alliance member SIA has been progressively retiring 747-400 passenger aircraft and the fleet is less than half the size of what it was four years ago, with 18 remaining in service today. In the last financial year alone it removed five from service.
Some are being converted into freighters but most have been sold to other parties, as SIA has been replacing the large passenger aircraft with Airbus A380s and Boeing 777-300ERs.
SIA has indicated in the past that it is not interested in Boeing’s upgraded version of the 747, the 747-8, for passenger services. But Boeing has long hoped that SIA will eventually order the freighter variant, which has proven popular with many other 747-400F customers.
However Chew said at the analysts’ briefing, according to a transcript submitted to the Singapore stock exchange, that the 747-8F is not of interest to SIA Cargo, which operates 14 747-400Fs and which has two on lease to Chinese associate carrier Great Wall Airlines, according to Flight’s ACAS database.
“We are not convinced about the additional expenditure that would be needed to renew the freighter fleet with 747-8 freighters, when the tradeoffs in terms of operating efficiency is rather marginal, in our view. So we do not need that,” said Chew.
He also said that “the mix of the 747-400 freighters that we have plus what we have in hand, in terms of conversions of our passenger aircraft into freighters that will be undertaken in the next couple of years or so, that would serve our needs adequately”.
Source: flightglobal.com's sister premium news site Air Transport Intelligence news
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