Watch Now

AskWaves: Who is Silk Way West Airlines?

Silk Way West Airlines operates 747-8 cargo planes like these. It just ordered five Boeing 777 freighters. (Photo: Silk Way West Airlines)

Silk Way West Airlines  is a nine-year-old cargo airline in Baku, Azerbaijan, that operates a fleet of five Boeing 747-8 and seven 747-400 freighters. Based at Heydar Aliyev International Airport, the airline operates about 350 monthly scheduled flights moving about 350,000 tons per year to more than 40 destinations worldwide and has ambitious growth plans.

The carrier recently began scheduled service to Rickenbacker International Airport in Columbus, Ohio. 

Last week, Silk Way ordered five 777 freighters from Boeing (NYSE: BA) as it positions itself to capture more business in a cargo market that is forecast to grow more than 60% over the next 20 years. Currently, pandemic-related forces have increased air cargo demand by about 10% compared to 2019.

The deal marks the first purchase of the long-range, high-capacity twin-engine freighter in the Caspian region and Central Asia. The airplanes will enable the airline to increase its capacity to meet growing cargo demand around the globe.

Delivery is planned between 2023 and 2027, the companies said.

The Boeing 777 is the largest twin-engine freighter on the market, with a range of 5,716 miles and a maximum payload of about 100 tons. The wide main deck door gives the airplane the ability to carry outsized loads.

The 777 Freighter is Boeing’s top-selling freighter with 247 orders since the program began in 2005. Boeing has sold 1,616 passenger variants of the 777.

This year, Boeing has received orders to build nine freighters, including four 747-8s for Atlas Air (NASDAQ: AAWW). Last year, it tallied 19 freighter orders, a decrease from 28 in 2019.

Eric Kulisch

Eric is the Supply Chain and Air Cargo Editor at FreightWaves. An award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering the logistics sector, Eric spent nearly two years as the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Automotive News, where he focused on regulatory and policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, mobility, fuel economy and safety. He has won two regional Gold Medals from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for government coverage and news analysis, and was voted best for feature writing and commentary in the Trade/Newsletter category by the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. As associate editor at American Shipper Magazine for more than a decade, he wrote about trade, freight transportation and supply chains. Eric is based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached for comments and tips at [email protected]