Emirates SkyCargo took delivery of its sixth 777-200 Freighter last week (A6-EFH, msn: 35608), bringing the Dubai giant's total 777 fleet to an astounding 114 aircraft. Just a few days earlier, Emirates had also taken delivery of its latest 777-300ER (A6-EGZ, msn: 41081). Another 777-300ER for the airline (A6-ENA, msn: 41082) is already in final prep for delivery.
Emirates is the world's largest operator of the 777, with 114 of them - and more on order. The airline received their first 777-200 in 1996 and has since added every new variant (-200ER, -300, -300ER, -200LR, and -200F).
In addition to the main deck capacity provided by the 777 Freighter, Emirates is also putting the belly space in their 78-strong 777-300ER fleet to good use - routing thousands of tons of cargo through Dubai every day and connecting destinations that might previously have required less frequent main-deck service via a European Hub, such as Los Angeles-Dar Es Salaam or São Paolo-Kuala Lumpur.
In a recent conversation with Cargo Facts, Emirates' Divisional Senior Vice President of Cargo, Ram Menen, described the 777-300ERs as "Freighters in disguise." With a full passenger load, each 777-300ER can accommodate between 26 and 28 tons of cargo - similar to numbers described earlier this year by Air China Cargo's Titus Diu when describing that carrier's 777-300ERs.
In addition to the 777-300ER and a menagerie of other 777 passenger aircraft, Emirates is also the largest operator of the Airbus A380 and maintains large A330 and A340 fleets as well.
The 777 Freighter fleet is used for destinations without sustainable passenger demand, for special cargo charters, and for areas where freight demand exceeds any kind of available belly capacity.
All of the 777 freighter sub-fleet are leased from DAE (Dubai Aerospace Enterprise), as will be future 777 freighters. DAE also has a batch of 747-8Fs on order. It is not clear when these 747-8Fs will be delivered, but it is expected that Emirates will not be the end user. Emirates is also currently utilizing four 747-400 freighters, leased from both Atlas Air and TNT.
© Photographer: Alex Kwanten