Friday, November 4, 2011

British Airways World Cargo receives first 747-8F

British Airways World Cargo (Atlas Air/Global Supply Systems) 747-87UF (37561/1442) G-GSSD departs Paine Field (PAE/KPAE) bound for London-Stansted (STN/EGSS) On it delivery flight November 3, 2011.

(Photo by Boeing)

British Airways World Cargo has just taken delivery - through cargo wet-lease specialist Atlas Air - of its first Boeing 747-8F freighter.

Based at London Stansted, the 747-8F is due to enter service on, November 8.

Unlike the 747-400Fs Atlas has previously operated on wet-lease for BA, this aircraft is in the airline's full "Union Flag" colour scheme - and looks fabulous. (The purists will point out that one Atlas 747-400F did briefly appear in BA colours, but this was the Utopia scheme with the "English Rose" tail colours.)

The red, white and blue 747-8F brings back memories of the airline's brief dalliance with the 747 freighter variant in the early 1980s. BA took delivery of a single 747-200F "G-KILO" from Seattle, which was named "British Trader".

In those days things were slightly different at BA's cargo division though. G-KILO was integrated into the airline's large 747-100/200 passenger fleet, and the flightcrews expected a seamless service whether they were flying freight or "self-loading cargo" (ie passengers). So each cargo flight operated with a stewardess on board to ensure the flightdeck team had the service they were used to on the passenger flights - coffees, teas, meals and that legendary cheese board!

So perhaps it was no wonder that the economics of BA's single 747-200F operation didn't work out, and the aircraft was disposed of fairly pronto to Cathay Pacific?

(Max Kingsley-Jones - Airline Business Blog)

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