Air China has announced that it will be growing its fleet with an order from Boeing. This order is a mixed bag, so lets get to the details, with the following on the books:
- 2 B747-8I’s
- 1 B777-300ER
- 20 B737-800’s
- 8 B777-200F’s (Boeing 777 Freighter)
There are a couple of interesting wrinkles in this order that are worth highlighting. Looking at the passenger side, Air China has the option of converting its 737 orders into 777 orders at the a ratio of 4:1 (4 737’s = 1 777), giving Air China a bit of flexibility how it changes it’s fleet at the cost of its narrow body operation if it chooses to change the order. Meanwhile, so that Boeing can sell Air China 777 Freighters, it will buy seven 747-400BCF’s (Boeing 747-400 Boeing Converted Freighters) from Air China.
For Boeing, its another order – and a small sigh of relief for the 747-8 programme which if we’re bluntly honest is a great cargo aircraft, but not the passenger aircraft that airlines wanted it to be (and them going down the line of the 777-300ER instead).
What Boeing will do with 7 Boeing 747-400BCF’s could be interesting – either reselling them on, parting them out, or making more Dreamlifters – however given the age of these aircraft, parting out could be the first option…