With orders for the latest version of Boeing’s iconic 747 continuing to struggle, the company Thursday announced an order for two of the freighter version of the jumbo jet from Silk Way Airlines, a cargo carrier in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Boeing put the value of the two freighters at $704 million at list prices.
The 747-8 is the fifth generation of the 4-engine jumbo jet that debuted in the last ’60s. The 747-8 features new, fuel-efficient engines, an improved wing, an updated interior and electronics. Boeing has net orders for 105 of the planes. The company has sold just five of the aircraft this year, two to Silk Way and three to Cathay Pacific Airways. Both Silk Way and Cathay order freighter versions of the plane.
The freighter has been the more popular of the two versions of the plane. Boeing has recorded orders for just 39 of the passenger model of the 747-8. Lufthansa Airlines is the biggest customer with orders for 19 of the passenger plane. Korean Air has ordered five. Air China has also ordered five. Arik Air of Nigeria has entered orders for two.
Boeing has sold eight passenger versions of the two-deck plane to moguls, sheiks and heads of state for custom outfitting.
“Silk Way Airlines’ vision is to be a successful and profitable cargo operator by investing in its fleet and services and continuing to increase its regional and international footprint,” said Zaur Akhundov, president, SW Holding, parent company of Silk Way Airlines. “The order for two Boeing 747-8 Freighters is a move in that direction.”
“Silk Way Airlines currently operates Boeing 747-400 Freighters and 767-300 Freighters. It is considered as one of the leading cargo airlines in Central Asia providing full-fledged services to Europe and the United Kingdom and the Middle East, as well as the Far East including Korea, China and Hong Kong. In addition, it also serves international destinations through a network of alliances,” Boeing said in a news release.
Boeing recently announced it is cutting back the production rate for the 747-8 at its Everett plant from two monthly to 1.75 aircraft per month. Boeing has thus far delivered 36 747-8 Freighters.