Dubai's Emirates bolsters cargo capacity with $1bn investment
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Dubai’s Emirates bolsters cargo capacity with $1bn investment

Dubai’s Emirates bolsters cargo capacity with $1bn investment

Emirates SkyCargo operated more than 27,800 flights on its passenger freighters and mini-freighters in the one year period from March 2020

Dubai’s Emirates SkyCargo has announced that it will induct two new Boeing 777Fs into its fleet in 2022 and convert four of the airline’s Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft into freighters between 2023 and 2024.

Emirates SkyCargo, which was the launch customer for the Boeing 777-F aircraft, has signed a purchase agreement with Boeing for the delivery of the same in April and June 2022 respectively. As part of the carrier’s fleet, the Boeing 777 freighter has operated scheduled and charter flights to destinations across six continents.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, chairman and chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, said: “The last two years have put the spotlight on the importance of supply chain connectivity and the availability of air cargo capacity to global communities and economies.

“Emirates plays a key role in making essential goods available to customers and consumers globally through the capacity available on our wide-body fleet, the reach of our global network, and the advanced infrastructure at our Dubai hub. Today, we are delighted to announce an investment of Dhs3.6bn ($1bn) to further expand our freighter capacity.”

Ihssane Mounir, Boeing senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing, said: “As the largest operator of 777 passenger and freighter models worldwide, Emirates’ success is a testament to the 777’s market-leading efficiency, improved sustainability and incredible range.”

Emirates SkyCargo has also signed an agreement with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for the conversion of four Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft into full freighters. The conversion programme will commence in early 2023 and is expected to conclude in 2024 with each aircraft taking up to an estimated five months for the process. The agreement also includes an option for further Boeing 777-300ER conversions at a later stage, official news agency WAM reported.

The converted freighters will provide up to 10 additional pallet positions over the Boeing 777-F production freighter allowing for transport of more low density cargo including e-commerce goods. They will boost the maindeck cargo capacity that Emirates SkyCargo can deploy on its global routes. The converted aircraft’s payload capabilities are very close to those of the Boeing 777-F production freighters and the twin-engine aircraft will be more efficient per tonne of cargo carried than the industry standard freighters.

IAI CEO and president, Boaz Levy, added: “IAI’s Aviation Group, the world’s leader in cargo conversions, is currently converting the first B777-300ER aircraft, together with GECAS, in order to provide the most optimal solution for the rise in e-commerce. Emirates’ decision to select IAI for the conversion of its passenger aircraft to cargo configuration is a testament to IAI’s professional capabilities and IAI’s longstanding international recognition in the field.”

In addition to its freighter aircraft, Emirates offers cargo capacity in the bellyhold of its passenger aircraft. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Emirates SkyCargo introduced measures including operating cargo-only flights on its passenger aircraft (passenger freighters) and modifying Boeing 777-300ER aircraft by removing seats from economy class to make additional room for cargo (mini-freighters).

Emirates SkyCargo operated more than 27,800 flights on its passenger freighters and mini-freighters in the one year period from March 2020, transporting more than 100,000 tonnes of essential cargo including medical supplies and food.

On the sidelines of the Dubai Airshow, Sheikh Ahmed confirmed that the company is planning to deploy more A380s as demand hikes. “Currently we have 47 A380s in operation and by the end of the year, we plan to deploy roughly 60,” he said.

Read: Emirates plans to deploy up to 60 A380s by year-end – Sheikh Ahmed

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