Russian carrier Transaero is to replace all of its Boeing 747-200s with 747-400s and convert the older types into freighters to handle cargo operations for the airline.

The carrier says that it intends to withdraw the 747-200s, of which it has around half a dozen, from passenger service by 2010.

"These aircraft will be converted into a freighter version," says the airline. "They will serve to develop Transaero's cargo traffic."

The first of six secondhand 747-400s is due to enter service before the end of the year.

Moscow-based Transaero operates virtually an all-Western fleet, although this does not include dedicated freighters. The airline's 747 complement also includes at least one 747-300.

Transaero became the first Russian airline to introduce passenger 747s into regular service when it started operating the type two years ago. The jets operate services to South-East Asia, the Caribbean and holiday destinations in the Mediterranean.

Meanwhile, Russia's second 747 operator Tesis has acquired a second 747-200 freighter.

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Source: Flight International