Boeing [NYSE: BA] and Japan Airlines International Co., Ltd., (JAL) today said that JAL, the world's largest 747 operator, recently ordered three 747-400 Special Freighters with up to four options.
JAL joins other cargo carriers in the region as an operator of the Boeing 747 Special Freighter, a 747-400 passenger airplane converted into a cargo airplane. Boeing launched the program earlier this year.
"Boeing is the leader in developing, integrating and implementing advanced technologies and innovation in aviation," said Mr. Yutaka Yoshino, JAL's senior vice president, general manager, cargo and mail. "The 747 Special Freighter advancements are going to keep us very competitive and enable us to operate more efficiently in the marketplace."
JAL is upgrading its cargo fleet with new technological advancements that provide economic, performance and efficiency solutions to its cargo operations. Conversion of the first JAL airplane will begin during December 2005. It will be delivered back to the airline in May 2006.
Boeing will modify the JAL airplanes at Taikoo (Xiamen) Aircraft Engineering (TAECO) in Xiamen, China, a Boeing-approved modification facility.
"Our continued partnership with JAL allows us to provide unrivaled solutions and benefits to help them satisfy their cargo fleet requirements," said Marty Bentrott, Boeing's vice president sales, services and product marketing for Commercial Aviation Services.
For the conversion, the 747-400 passenger airplane receives a side cargo door, a strengthened main-cabin floor, a full main-deck lining and provisions for a new cargo handling system with an upgraded flight deck. The 747-400 Special Freighter has positions for 30 cargo pallets on the main deck -- comparable volume to that of a new 747-400 freighter. It is also capable of seating up to 19 people, an option found on no other converted freighter.
Boeing offers customers reliable conversion-based engineering and certification expertise. Customers may chose from several support packages that can be incorporated during freighter conversions, including avionics and flight-deck upgrades, customized maintenance programs and integration of technical manuals.
Japan Airlines, Asia's biggest airline with a fleet of 278 aircraft, operates scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services; aircraft maintenance services; and other businesses relating to air transport and aircraft maintenance. JAL operates a worldwide network connecting 207 cities in 32 countries and territories including 60 airports in Japan.