Tencent Technologies News, April 3, according to foreign media reports, although many mainstream media have made a lot of hype and speculation about the recent Boeing 737 Max-8 crash, there is a sense of nostalgia among pilots, as well as photos of the classic MD-80. McDonald MD-80 used to be the backbone of the U.S. short-haul fleet, but due to the outdated technology, they are expected to complete phased retirement by the end of this year. These aircraft, equipped with simple cables and pulley control devices, have completed more than 45 million safe flights throughout the fleet's life cycle.
Amazon Freight Fleet
Boeing 757 is a large narrow-body aircraft, which usually can accommodate more than 200 passengers and can fly more than 6000 kilometers at full load. It belongs to the traditional mid-market aircraft. Originally launched as a mid-range route to build the North-South network of East Airlines and the European intranet of British Airways, the aircraft was later praised for its ability to transport an appropriate number of passengers over longer distances.
For example, it was this aircraft that enabled United Airlines to launch its high-quality trans-continental service outside New York and supported Continental to open trans-Atlantic routes to second-tier European cities such as Edinburgh or Hamburg.
Now, Boeing 757 has entered the golden age. Many of the 640 remaining Boeing 757-200 planes around the world are being converted into cargo aircraft and looking for new buyers. Since 1987, the production cargo plane of Boeing 757 has proved itself in the UPS fleet, but only 80 cargo planes have been delivered, most of them to UPS.
Since then, several companies have begun cargo modifications of the airliner. Over the past few years, Precision Aircraft Solutions has revamped about 20 aircraft a year. FedEx alone has 120 Boeing 757 modified cargo planes, but only about 25% of its active fleet, while DHL operates 25.
Boeing 757-2Q8 at Lisbon Airport
Recently, more Boeing 757 modified aircraft were sent to China Express Company. Shunfeng Airlines currently operates 27 Boeing 757 modified cargo planes and China Post Airlines operates 6. They and other Chinese package carriers are continuing to expand their fleet size. According to ICF estimates, by 2025, the demand for additional Boeing 757 modified aircraft will exceed 100, which means that nearly half of the entire Boeing 757 passenger fleet will eventually be converted into cargo aircraft. Apart from the short-lived MD-11 model, few models in history have been transformed into cargo aircraft on a large scale like Boeing 757.
This demand is supported by a structural shift in the global package delivery market. Last year, global e-commerce retail sales grew by more than 20% to $2.8 trillion. Although this sounds huge, e-commerce still accounts for only 12% of global retail sales, and retail sales are still growing rapidly. Amazon and Alibaba are working to build infrastructure across the globe in the race for consumers, hoping to ship packages around the globe in 24 to 72 hours.
Mass media and industry media have always been concerned about Amazon's investment in the fleet of Amazon Air's broadband cargo aircraft, which is currently operated under a contract between Atlas and ATSG, with Amazon holding 19% of the company's shares.
Amazon's proposed $1.5 billion global hub investment at Cincinnati Airport and its smaller investment in Fort Worth Alliance Airport have also been well reported. Amazon hopes to build more parcel sorting and logistics centers, comparable to FedEx's famous Memphis global hub.
Today, the impact of e-commerce on global logistics is further affecting the air cargo ecosystem. Traditionally, the focus of air cargo is to transport goods from one airport to another in large-scale integrated cargo transport, whether through wide-body cargo aircraft or passenger luggage compartment. Shippers may pay for fast shipping, but most traditional air cargoes prefer to leave some room for manoeuvre in time, and a day or two of transshipment is usually acceptable.
In contrast, e-commerce requires door-to-door speed from the shipper directly to the final consignee. This requires that it must reach its destination quickly, and there is often no time to build a comprehensive pallet. In addition, it requires ensuring that every step is reliable and transparent. These features are conducive to the use of narrow-body cargo aircraft to build large networks, such as those operated by FedEx, UPS and Shunfeng Airlines.
In fact, just last week, Amazon announced that Amazon Airlines had signed a contract to operate at least five, up to 20, narrow-body cargo planes by Atlas subsidiary Southern Air.
Obviously, e-commerce also promotes the demand for integrated air cargo. Amazon Airlines already has nearly 40 wide-body cargo planes, and another 10 are awaiting delivery. Through its Caino logistics department, Alibaba is also working with Silkway and Volga-Dnepr to prepare for Boeing 747 and other large cargo aircraft. However, the impact of e-commerce on express delivery will only accelerate. This is why Boeing 757 as a narrow-body cargo plane can successfully enjoy the second life.
In fact, the success of Boeing 757 as a cargo plane may eventually become its own limitation. In recent years, as demand for retrofitted aircraft (or retired airliners) has increased, their prices have also risen. Recently, the transaction price of Boeing 757 used passenger airliner has exceeded $9 million, which is not counting the cost of refitting $5 million.
Aware that the demand for more narrow-body cargo aircraft will not disappear soon, several companies have developed new transformation schemes for Boeing 737-700 and Boeing 737-800, and are developing other transformation schemes for narrow-body aircraft, including Airbus A320 and A321. (Tencent Technology Revision/Jinlu)