With the final ribbon cut, Chinese lion and dragon dancers came out of their lairs to celebrate the delivery of China Airlines' first two Boeing 747-400 Freighters. Joining in today's celebration were Brian Chou, senior vice president - China Airlines, Larry Dickenson, senior vice president - Boeing Commercial Airplanes Group, and more than 100 invited guests.
The China Airlines 747-400 Freighters are the first to be delivered to a Taiwanese carrier. They also are the first two of 13 freighters that Boeing will deliver to China Airlines between 2000 and 2007. The order placed in 1999 was the largest 747-400 freighter order in The Boeing Company's history. In addition to the 13 freighters ordered, China Airlines has options to purchase four additional 747-400 Freighters.
"The Boeing 747-400 Freighter is the key to China Airlines meeting the needs of Taiwan's rapidly growing economy and booming air cargo market," Chou said. "With the greatest capacity and lowest ton-per-mile cost of any commercial air freighter, the 747-400 Freighter will allow us to provide cargo service to more customers and destinations, while minimizing our operating costs."
The 747-400 Freighter can carry a maximum 120 tons of cargo, 25 tons more cargo than the 747-200 Freighters currently in China Airlines' freighter fleet. In addition to the higher payload capability, the 747-400F burns 15 percent less fuel than its predecessor allowing it to fly further and to more destinations. These 747-400 Freighters also will join China Airlines existing 747-400 Passenger airplane fleet, giving the airline the commonality benefits of a 747-400 airplane family using the same flight crew and the same maintenance and operating procedures.
"The new 747-400 Freighters will strengthen China Airlines' reputation as one of the largest cargo carriers in the world through a growing global freighter network," Dickenson said. "It will also help establish Taiwan as one of the leading air transportation hubs in Asia."
Currently, China Airlines operates 41 freighter missions per week. Airline officials said that by the end of this year, China Airlines will increase freighter missions to 54 flights per week by utilizing their new 747-400 Freighters. Traffic on Trans-pacific routes will increase from 19 to 27 flights, eight to 10 on European routes, and 14 to 17 on regional routes.
Twelve Boeing customers have ordered 76 747-400 Freighters. Including today's delivery, 43 of the -400 Freighters have been delivered. In 2000, for the first time ever, Boeing will deliver more 747-400 Freighters than 747-400 Passenger airplanes - thanks in part to the China Airlines order.