Boeing 747-8 Freighter launch customer Cargolux wants to augment its 14-strong 747-400F fleet after experiencing average annual traffic growth of 14% over the past seven years.

“We’ve been pushing for an extension of the [747] programme for a long time,” says Cargolux Airlines president and chief executive Ulrich Ogiermann.

“The nose door allows us to operate this aircraft with a great deal of efficiency,” he adds, noting that the operator expects to be able to turn around the 747-8F in less than 1h.

Cargolux will receive 10 747-8Fs – including the flight-test aircraft – between September 2009 and 2012. It holds options on an additional 10.

Japan’s Nippon Cargo Airlines (NCA) has placed a firm order for eight -8Fs and taken six options, to replace its 10 747-200Fs and one 747-100F. It also operates two 747-400Fs and has six more on order for delivery by 2008.

NCA chief executive Takuro Uchiyama says the 747-8F “will be very important in allowing Nippon Cargo to take advantage of the high expected cargo market growth in Asia”. The -8s will be delivered from 2009-15 and be used to expand cargo services to Asian cities such as Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Bangkok and Seoul.

Boeing lists the following airlines and leasing companies as “candidate customers”: Air China, Air France, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, Atlas Air, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Cargo, China Southern, Emirates, Eva Air, GE Commercial Aviation Services, Iberia, International Lease Finance, Jade, Japan Airlines, KLM, Korean Air, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Martinair, Northwest Airlines, Qantas, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Thai Airways International, Virgin Atlantic Airways and UPS. n

Source: Flight International