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Cargo Powerhouse: Boeing 747-400 ERF Joins National Airlines Fleet

SimpleFlying logo SimpleFlying 1 day ago Riley Pickett
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  • Boeing
    Stock Code: BA
    Date Founded: 1916-07-15
    CEO: Dave Calhoun
    Headquarters Location: Chicago, USA
    Key Product Lines: Boeing 737, Boeing 747, Boeing 757, Boeing 767, Boeing 777, Boeing 787
    Business Type: Planemaker

National Airlines has announced that it has received its first Boeing 747-400ERF (extended range freighter). The new freighter registered N663CA offers a more fuel-efficient option for ultra-long-haul cargo operations. The aircraft features a lifting nose door and a large side door enabling it to haul enormous objects. The plane will help National meet the growing demand for air cargo worldwide.

Fuel efficient freighter

The jet can carry a maximum gross payload of 128 metric tons (282,000 pounds). It can also carry objects that are far longer than it can with the other aircraft in its fleet. The nose door provides the airline with this newly acquired ability. The freighter is also well suited to carry refrigerated materials. Its design allows it to keep the cargo compartment cooler for the more efficient transport of pharmaceuticals and perishable items such as meat and other cold foods.

Christopher Alf, the Chairman of National Air Cargo Holdings, Inc, shared the company's excitement for the new aircraft. He also shared how the new plane will help the airline reach its expansion goals. Alf stated,

"The introduction of the B747-400 ERF aircraft is part of our greater vision to modernize our fleet and enhance our service offerings for our customers. Our prime focus is not just rapid fleet expansion, but also to offer newer and innovative air freight solutions to the post-COVID global market to meet growing specialized cargo demands,"

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Flexible network

This new aircraft will play a vital role in the airline's network growth. Its added capabilities will permit it to carry a more extensive array of cargo. The airline is looking to add more aircraft to its fleet throughout the next several months. It currently services over 200 destinations around the globe. The airline also runs a charter operation on top of its cargo services. However, its expansion plans hinge primarily on the growth and development of its cargo sector.

National Airlines looks to expand its global air cargo network. Photo: National Airlines

Pandemic growth

Before the pandemic, the air cargo industry was slowly growing as international trade was strong and the e-commerce industry steadily developed. When the pandemic came, international passenger air travel seemed to vanish from the fabric of existence. However, this was not the same story for the cargo airlines. When demand dried up for passenger carriers, it skyrocketed for cargo carriers.

The world needed medical supplies and other necessities primarily produced in foreign countries. The e-commerce industry exploded as people avoided visiting in-person stores and instead opted to do their shopping online. National Airlines continued operations throughout the pandemic, delivering medical supplies to places in need and transporting whatever else was demanded.

Unfortunately for the airlines, many travel restrictions did affect operations. While most air travel and airport regulations did not directly affect them, international border closures and quarantine periods did. Nonetheless, the cargo carriers resumed most of their operations throughout the pandemic. Since emerging into a new era, consumers have become more accustomed to e-commerce, and the high demand levels have yet to falter. National looks to capitalize on this with the new aircraft it intends to soon bring onto its flight line.

What do you think of this new fleet addition? Let us know in the comments below.

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