Boeing has found its third 777X Freighter customer. The cargo division of the German flag carrier Lufthansa has placed an order for ten 777 freighters. Seven of these will be the new 777X with folding wingtips. Boeing launched the product with a sizeable order from Qatar Airways earlier this year.
The COVID-19 pandemic solidified how important freighter aircraft are to the aviation industry. ace Lufthansa Cargo‘s fleet develops and expands, it wants new aircraft. The problem is that it can’t get them fast enough. The airline recently took a second-hand freighter from Emirates and didn’t even have time to repaint it before it entered service.
Expanding the fleet
Having retired the MD-11 late last yearLufthansa Cargo has a single fleet type of Boeing 777 Freighters. (The Lufthansa Group does have a converted Airbus A321 freighter, though another subsidiary, Lufthansa CityLine, operates this).
Lufthansa has found that its demand for freight capacity exceeds the current supply that it can offer. It has been looking for whatever additional capacity it can get within the Boeing 777F family. As mentioned, this had meant a second-hand 777F from Emirates.
Lufthansa will take a used 777F, before taking two new current generation aircraft from the Boeing assembly plant. Photo: Boeing via Lufthansa Cargo
As part of the deal, Lufthansa will take three Boeing 777Fs from the current product lineup before the 777Xs. One of these is a used plane that could be delivered to Lufthansa as soon as July. Boeing will build the remaining two aircraft. As Boeing is pressing pause on 777X production for a year, it has more capacity to build standard Boeing 777Fs.
Boeing 777Xs from 2027
Lufthansa is expected to be the launch customer of the passenger variant of the Boeing 777X, though the first delivery isn’t scheduled until 2025 following delays to the 777X certification programs. While some airlines are getting impatient with the 777X delays, it seems as though Lufthansa isn’t one of these. In addition to its passenger jet order, the German flag carrier has added orders for seven 777X freighters. According to Lufthansa, these will be delivered between 2027 and 2030, meaning that the first should come just two years after the first passenger jet from the family.
Lufthansa’s first Boeing 777-8Fs are due to be delivered from 2027-2030. Photo: Boeing via Lufthansa Cargo
While Lufthansa has ordered the larger 777-9 passenger aircraft, the 777X Freighter is based on the smaller 777-8.
Commenting on the Boeing order, Lufthansa Cargo’s CEO, Dorothea von Boxberg, remarked,
“We are very pleased that we have been able to set an important course for our future and the growth of Lufthansa Cargo with the decision to order ten additional widebody freighters. We can offer our customers significantly more capacity in the short and long term, and also ensure that we operate the most modern and efficient freighters in their class.”
While not the biggest deal, the order is a win for Boeing, which has recently seen some high-profile customers switching to Airbus, and its A350 freighter. With the freighter order, Lufthansa reveals that it is committed to the passenger jet and continues to see the 777 as the better freighter option. While the airline currently operates 777 freighters, it also operates a fleet of passenger A350s, meaning switching the freighter fleet in the coming years wouldn’t necessarily be written off due to complexity.
What do we know about the 777-8F?
Details about the 777-8F remain relatively obscure for the time being, as is often the case with aircraft. In January, Boeing launched the 777-8 freighter with an order for up to 50 of the type from Qatar Airways. At the time, we learned some key figures. The aircraft will have a range of 4,410 nautical miles (8,167km) and will be able to carry a payload of 118 tons.
Boeing launched the 777-8F as part of a huge Qatar Airways deal made in Janaury. Photo: Qatar Airways
This gives the aircraft a similar capacity to a Boeing 747-400 freighter but uses 25% less fuel. Lufthansa added that the plane could take 17% more cargo by volume than the existing range of 777 freighters.
What do you make of Lufthansa’s new Boeing 777 freighter order? Let us know in the comments!
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