Atlas Air has taken delivery of the first of four Boeing B747-8 freighters – one of the last of the model to be built – for use on its recent long-term contract with Cainiao.
The aircraft will operate between China, the US, Brazil and Chile on behalf of Cainiao, the logistics arm of e-commerce giant Alibaba.
Atlas ordered the four B747-8Fs in early 2021 as the demand for freighters soared due to the Covid crisis and associated loss of bellyhold capacity.
The airline ordered the aircraft as a number of its legacy B747-400F aircraft leases will be up for renewal over the next several years.
All four of the freighters are due to be delivered this year and the final aircraft will be the last ever production B747 aircraft to be built.
“The iconic Boeing 747 programme has been in operation for over 50 years and will continue to play a critical role in keeping global supply chains moving for decades to come,” Atlas Air said.
“The B747-8 is the only factory-built freighter with nose-loading capability in production, which will serve the long-term needs of the airfreight market.”
Michael Steen, executive vice president and chief commercial, Atlas Air Worldwide, said: “These four new B747-8s allow us to offer our customers significant growth opportunities to capitalize on strong demand and deliver value on what we consider among the best and most versatile widebody freighters in the market.
“We are pleased that the first of our new B747s will be placed on a long-term basis with Cainiao, as they continue strengthening their presence as a global e-Commerce logistics leader, and we look forward to continue supporting their growth and expansion.”