Atlas Air Worldwide has purchased four Boeing 747-freighters to further grow capacity to meet the growing e-commerce and express cargo demand.
The American planemaker said the aircraft will complete production in 2022.
“The 747-8F is the best and most versatile widebody freighter in the market, and we are excited to bolster our fleet with the acquisition of these four aircraft,” said John W. Dietrich, Atlas Air Worldwide president and chief executive officer.
“This significant growth opportunity will enable us to capitalize on strong demand and deliver value for our existing and prospective customers,” he added.
Dietrich noted that the efficiency and capability of the 747-8F complements the company's longstanding focus on leading-edge technology.
“Dedicated freighters – like those operated by our Atlas, Polar and Southern subsidiaries – will continue to be in demand as the global airfreight market, particularly the e-commerce and express sectors, continues to grow,” he said.
With a maximum payload capacity of 137.7 metric tonnes (137,750 kg), the 747-8 Freighter allows customers to access 20% more payload capacity while using 16% less fuel compared to previous-generation 747s.
Stan Deal, president and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, noted that the global air cargo fleet is expected to grow by more than 60% over the next 20 years.
Atlas Air has 53 747s in its current fleet, making it the largest 747 operators in the world. Its fleet includes 737s, 767s and 777s. The 747 and 777 models, in particular — capable of carrying tall and outsized cargo loads on 3-meter-high (10-foot-tall) pallets.
Atlas Air provides more than 90% of the dedicated freighter capacity around the world, including new products and converted freighters.
The 747 program has produced 1,560 aircraft since launching the jumbo jet more than 50 years ago. In July 2020, Boeing announced its decision to complete production of the 747-8 in 2022.