|Traffic | Weather | Your account||Movies | Restaurants | Today's events|
Also on seattletimes.com
Tech Tracks blog
News and perspectives from our tech team.
Brier Dudley's blog
A critical look at tech and business issues.
Big order likely to land soon for 747-8 freighter
Seattle Times aerospace reporter
Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings is set to announce a large order for eight to 12 Boeing 747-8 freighters, worth upward of $2.2 billion at list prices, say trade-media reports and industry sources.
Atlas, parent company of cargo carriers Atlas Air and Polar Air Cargo, provides long-haul, heavy-lift freight services to the U.S. government and to commercial customers.
The 747-8 is a new, bigger version of Boeing's 747 jumbo jet, due for first delivery in late 2009.
Ned Laird, managing director of Seattle air-freight consultancy Air Cargo Management Group, said he expects an order by the end of the month.
Atlas, which operates the world's largest fleet of all-cargo 747s, did not respond to a message. A Boeing spokesman declined comment.
In the competition to replace Atlas' fleet of classic 747-200s, Laird said the new Boeing plane is favored over the freighter version of the Airbus A380 superjumbo, because the latter "is not as effective in carrying heavyweight freight as it is in moving package freight."
Express-package deliverers UPS and FedEx have ordered the A380 freighter, which has three decks for cargo, because it can carry much more cargo volume than a 747, ideal for loads of relatively light packages.
But for the denser, heavier loads that Atlas typically hauls, such as factory machinery or military supplies, the 747 comes close to the A380 in capacity while being significantly cheaper to buy and to operate.
Current 747 freighters carry up to 130 tons. The new 747-8 will carry 147 tons. The A380 carries 165 tons.
Compared with current 747-400 jumbos, the 747-8 will have an updated flight deck, wings aerodynamically enhanced for greater efficiency and a fuselage stretching more than 17 feet. New engines first developed for the 787 will power it.
Boeing has so far won 18 firm orders for the 747-8 freighter and just one order for a passenger version to an unidentified VIP.
Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company