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Boeing 747-8F Retirement? Qatar Airways Appears To Have Quietly Removed The Freighter

by Staff

Summary

  • Qatar Airways Cargo is retiring its last Boeing 747-8Fs and focusing on operating the twin-engine 777F freighter.
  • One of the Boeing 747-8Fs has already been re-registred in the United States (US).
  • Qatar Airways has ordered 50 Boeing 777-8F aircraft and is set to become the launch customer for the freighter in 2027.



Qatar Airways Cargo, the cargo subsidiary of the Qatar Airways Group, is reportedly retiring its last Boeing 747-8F cargo aircraft, as the cargo carrier will focus operations on the twin-engine 777F freighter, including the 777-8F, which should arrive in 2027.


Refocusing fleet

As reported by Cargo Facts, Liesbeth Oudkerk, the Senior Vice President of Cargo Sales and Network Planning at Qatar Airways Cargo, said that the cargo airline would focus on operating the 777F while she spoke in a panel discussion at Cargo Facts EMEA in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Oudkerk was part of a panel session on February 6, 2024.


Photo: Matheus Obst | Shutterstock


Nevertheless, Qatar Airways Cargo has a single Boeing 747-8F remaining in its fleet, registered as A7-BGB. The aircraft operated flight QR8941 from Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN) to Doha Hamad International Airport (DOH) on February 12, with the freighter operating a flight from DOH to CAN a day prior, according to Flightradar24 records.


The carrier’s other 747-8F, registered as A7-BGA, has already been re-registered in the United States. The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) records showed that A7-BGA, whose manufacturer serial number (MSN) is 37564, is now registered as N634UP. The FAA issued the certificate to the aircraft’s owner, Boeing Aircraft Holding, on February 9.

Potential UPS aircraft

Flightradar24 data showed that A7-BGA was moved from DOH to Victorville Southern California Logistics Airport (VCV) on February 1, where it has remained since. However, N634UP’s certificate is temporary. The US regulator’s records indicate it is scheduled to expire on March 10.


Meanwhile, UPS’s most recent Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing showed that the airline has two Boeing 747-8F aircraft on order, despite Boeing delivering the last-ever aircraft of the type more than a year ago.


On January 31, 2023, Boeing handed over the final Boeing 747-8F to Atlas Air, which will operate the quad-engine aircraft on behalf of Apex Logistics, a subsidiary of the international shipping company Kuehne+Nagel.

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In addition to the two Boeing 747-8F aircraft that Qatar Airways owned, the airline has also wet-leased two Boeing 747-400Fs from Turkey-based AirACT. According to ch-aviation data, the Turkish airline took delivery of the two aircraft in 2015.


A Qatar Airways Boeing 747 freighter being loaded.
Photo: Matheus Obst I Shuterstock

Photo: Matheus Obst I Shuterstock

Launch customer of 777-8F

In January 2022, Qatar Airways announced that it would become the launch customer of the Boeing 777-8F, the freighter based on the smaller variant of the 777X. Then, the airline said that as part of the order, it would convert 20 of its 60 orders for the 777X family to the 777F and that it would take delivery of the first 777-8 in 2027.


Qatar-Airways 777X freighter

Photo: GE Aerospace


In total, Qatar Airways ordered 50 777-8Fs, split between 34 firm and 16 options, while also signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for up to 50 Boeing 737 MAX 10 aircraft. Qatar Airways has begun operating the Boeing 737 MAX 8, which were the airframes that were scheduled for delivery to Russia-based S7 Airlines, in May 2023.


Qatar Airways ordered 25 Boeing 737 MAX 10 aircraft during the Farnborough International Airshow in July 2022. However, the announcement did not mention a delivery date, and Boeing still has not certified either the 737 MAX 7 or MAX 10.


The Qatari carrier already operates a substantial fleet of 777Fs, with 27 freighters of the type in its fleet currently. Boeing’s Orders & Deliveries filings showed that the manufacturer must still deliver one 777F to the airline, excluding the 777-8F orders.

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Boeing Expects To Deliver The First 777X Freighter In 2027

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