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Cargolux orders 10 Boeing 777-8 freighters to replace older jumbos

Fleet modernization will increase operating efficiency, sustainability

A Cargolux Boeing 747-400 in retro livery arrives at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

(Updated Oct. 13, 2022, 9:30 A.M. ET)

Cargolux, a major all-cargo airline based in Luxembourg, has finalized an order with Boeing for 10 next-generation 777-8 freighters with options for six more aircraft, the companies announced Wednesday.

A Cargolux spokesman said Boeing is expected to deliver the first plane in 2027.

The move keeps Cargolux in the Boeing camp after Airbus late last year introduced a rival large freighter based on its popular A350 widebody passenger jet, its first serious effort in years to take on Boeing (NYSE: BA) in the freighter arena after a short-lived run making A330-200s.

Cargolux is the largest operator of Boeing 747 freighters in Europe with a combined fleet of 30 aircraft — 16 747-400s and 14 newer 747-8s. 

The airline in July issued an informal expression of intent to buy the all-new 777-8 to replace its aging 747-400 jumbo jets, but didn’t specify how many units it intended to buy. 

The 777-8 will generate fewer emissions, be quieter and use less fuel than other freighters flying today.

Boeing launched the 777-8 program in January as a replacement for the legacy 777 freighter, which is scheduled to end production in late 2027 to comply with new U.S. and international rules for reducing emissions and noise. Boeing has booked more than 50 orders, but the first editions won’t be available until mid-2027. 

Qatar Airways is the biggest customer, with an order for 34 aircraft (plus 16 options), followed by Cargolux, Lufthansa Cargo (seven), Ethiopian (five) and All Nippon Airways (two). 

“The agreement we signed today will consolidate Cargolux’s position as a global leader of air freight services. Replacing our aging fleet of 747-400 Freighters with the latest technology and fuel-efficient 777-8 Freighter model will contribute to our long-term sustainability program while continuing to offer our customers the tailored service they expect,” said Cargolux CEO Richard Forson in a statement. 

The 777-8 has nearly identical payload and range capabilities as the 747-400 cargo jet while providing 30% better fuel efficiency and emissions and 25% better operating costs per ton, according to Boeing. It also produces about 60% less noise than its predecessors.

Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.


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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 and a Silver Medal from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for government and trade coverage, and news analysis. He was voted best for feature writing and commentary in the Trade/Newsletter category by the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. In December 2022, he was voted runner up for Air Cargo Journalist by the Seahorse Freight Association. 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]