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Boeing CEO: 787 Freighter Still A Strong Suitor To Succeed 767F

SimpleFlying 9/18/2022 Luke Bodell
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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

Boeing CEO David Calhoun has claimed the aerospace manufacturer is still considering a 787 Dreamliner freighter variant to replace the 767F. Boeing must stop production of its Boeing 767 and 777 freighters by 2027 to comply with emission regulations.

787F still on the cards

With Boeing's 767 freighter program coming to a close within the next five years, speculation is rife on what will replace these widebody cargo workhorses.

While the Boeing 777F has found its replacement in the Boeing 777-8F, Boeing CEO David Calhoun recently revealed that a Boeing 787 freighter is high up in the list of Boeing 767F successors.

Boeing resumed 787 Dreamliner deliveries in August following production problems. Photo: Getty Images

According to FreightWaves, Calhoun said,

"We know there’s value in it [a 787 freighter]. But we’re going to pace all of our freighter developments. We have a 777 coming down the pike. The [legacy] 767 is still in wild demand. Someday. Probably likely. But we have not pulled any triggers."

Boeing will also consider developing a completely new airframe for a freighter, with a passenger variant then following. However, the company is still receiving plenty of orders for existing freighters and passenger-to-freighter (P2F) conversion.

Production challenges

Developing a Boeing 787F will prove challenging in a number of ways, particularly as the Dreamliner's carbon-fiber structure will make it more difficult to reinforce larger cargo doors.

The company only just restarted Boeing 787 Dreamliner deliveries last month following a 14-month hiatus due to production issues and is also grappling with huge debts of around $45 billion.

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Is there demand for a 787 freighter?

While Boeing has developed freighter variants from its other widebody programs in the 747, 767 and 777, it hasn't done so for the 787, which has otherwise sold well at around 1,500 orders for its passenger variants.

Simple Flying explored why we haven't seen a 787 freighter yet back in 2020, noting the expensive development costs and the existence of viable alternatives.

The 767-300F is still proving a hit with customers and remains in production. Photo: Boeing

Demand for freighter services shot up over the pandemic as carriers bet big on cargo, using passenger aircraft as 'preighters' and investing in more P2F conversions.

Calhoun said regarding air cargo demand,

"I don’t think there will be a giveback … to some other form of transportation. I think they are going to keep what they have. I don’t think it can accelerate at the same pace it did, but even if it returned to its pre-COVID pace it’s going to be a very healthy, very robust market."

However, despite Calhoun's assertion, some analysts are concerned that the air cargo market will be oversupplied with freighters after the COVID pandemic bubble bursts.

Do you think Boeing will develop a 787 freighter? Or do you see the company opting for something else? Let us know your insights in the comments.

Source: FreightWaves

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