China Southern Air the carrier based in Guangzhou, China announced it was boosting its cargo operation with an order for 6 additional Boeing 777F. The latest deal valued at $1.58 billion would see the new aircraft delivered between 2013 and 2015, bringing the carrier’s 777F fleet to 12. A previous order for 6 Boeing 777F on February 28, 2007, already saw 5 aircraft becoming active in the airline rotation. Boeing is also set to deliver the carrier’s first Boeing 787-8 for passenger service later this year as part of a 2005 order for ten Boeing 787-8.

China Southern Airlines Company Limited ended its 2010 fiscal year in March of 2011 as China’s largest carrier in fleet size, routes network and passenger traffic volume. Operating primarily out of Guangzhou and Beijing, its routes network links 22 China domestic cities to Asia, Australia, America, Europe and Africa through presence in 52 overseas locations including London, Moscow, Tokyo, Paris, Los Angeles, Sydney, Singapore… The company holdings include a 60% majority stake in Xiamen Airlines who recently ordered 10 Boeing 787. China Southern Airlines claimed a fleet of 422 as of December 31st, 2011.

In 2010, total revenues for the carrier grew a staggering 40% from the previous year to $11.5billion, with the domestic passenger operation contributing 76%, international passenger traffic 11.8% and cargo and mail adding another 7.1% in amount of 1.12 million tonnes. The net operating profit for the year reached $949million. The latest order will be financed by the carrier’s operating fund and bank loans.

The new freighters would produce an additional 8.4% in Available Tonne Kilometers capacity measurement for the carrier, part of a major strategic initiative to aggressively boost freight capacity and network routes while furthering logistics processes integration. Similar initiatives observed from rival Air China highlight the growing competition to secure cargo and logistics market share as the nation sustains its economic growth.

The Boeing 777F, the state of the art freighter derived from the Boeing 777-200LR delivers new standards in capabilities within the industry. The twin engined aircraft relies on two General Electric GE90-110B1L high bypass ratio turbofan engines (the GE90-115BL are optional) with 110,100 lb (489 kN) of thrust to carry 112 tons (247,000 lbs) of cargo at a range of 4,900 nm (5,640 miles, 9,070 km). Its high fuel capacity of 47,890 gal (181,283 L, 320,863 lbs, 145,538 kg) and operating economics now make it the prime candidate for replacing venerable widebody Boeing 747-400 freighter which burns 20% more fuel. China Southern Airlines currently operate 2 Boeing 747-400F. The 777F superior capabilities have prompted logistics giant FedEx to adopt the type for its long haul operation, supplanting the tri-engined MD-11F. Lufthansa was the most recent operator to invest in the type. A $1.35billion order would see 5 Boeing 777F operate alongside Lufthansa Cargo’s 18 MD-11F.

In cargo operation terms, twenty seven 125 in × 96 in (318 cm x 244 cm) LD7 pallets find their way onto the 777 main deck, fitted in 13 rows of 2 pallets aside, plus a single pallet positioned against the aircraft rear bulkhead. The lower deck forward compartment is tailored for 6 additional 125 inx96 in pallets, with another 4 pallets being assigned to the lower aft compartment. The alternative as far as LD3 containers capability consisted of 18 LD3 containers loaded in the forward compartment and 14 aft unless the aft section is instead used to house up to 3 optional Boeing body fuel tanks for ultra long range operation. This operator’s choice would reduce the number of LD3 containers in the aft compartment to 8 instead.

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