Cargolux eyes new generation freighters

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Luxembourg-based freight operator Cargolux Airlines has started discussions with Boeing about new aircraft freighter programmes as the carrier considers a new fleet by the middle of the next decade.

Speaking at the Ascend finance forum in London today, vice president of corporate finance Yves Germeaux said Cargolux is exploring new aircraft types.

“It is likely that we will not have a new 747 version but we are discussing with Boeing or a 777X freighter version,” he says.

Germeaux adds Boeing is not “very hot” on the idea of having a nose role capability on the 777X freighter.

“Our fleet is based around one model, the 747 freighter. It fits our model of serving large markets such as Asia, the US west coast or the US east coast,” he says.

He acknowledges that the 777 freighter model could be a more efficient aircraft on smaller routes but currently the 747 fleet covers 85% of its needs.

“The nose role ability is also important for us as it allows loading off-size cargo that cannot get through the door. It also allows higher utilisation for operators as ground time gets reduced.”

Germeaux says Cargolux opted for the 747-8F ahead of the 777F and the A380F in the past because of these factors.

The carrier could be interested in a swingtail concept on the 777X freighter as Boeing has on the Dreamlifter.

Cargolux operates a 20-aircraft fleet comprising nine 747-8Fs, nine 747-400F/ERFs and two 747-400BCFs. It has orders for five new 747-8Fs.The freighter operator has one delivery scheduled for September and another for March 2015.