1986-09-01

Meeting the Air Cargo Challenge: Boeing's Aircraft Developments 861154

During the last decade, the average annual growth rate for cargo traffic (revenue ton kilometers [RTKs]) has continued to be greater than that of passenger traffic (revenue passenger kilometers [RPKs]). As cargo becomes more of an integral part of operators' revenue structures, manufacturers must heed the demands of the cargo market in developing new derivatives or all-new airplanes.
Throughout Boeing's history, aircraft have been designed to help the air cargo industry to meet existing market requirements, to develop the full potential of these markets and to expand into new markets. For air freight operators new cargo airplanes promise more efficient, productive equipment; for air freight forwarders and shippers, modern cost-effective equipment translates into lower costs for moving goods; for manufacturers lower transportation costs mean lower priced, more competitive merchandise.
Models of the 707, 727, 737 and 747 currently serve the world's cargo markets with main-deck freight versions. The biggest of all commercial airplanes, the 747 Freighter, can transport more than 120 tons (110 tonnes) of the bulkiest, heaviest, oversized articles almost anywhere in the world. At the other end of the capacity spectrum, the 737 “little giant” can operate into remote, unprepared airstrips with more than 18 tons (16 tonnes) of vital supplies.
By 1992, the family of Boeing airplanes will include several new derivatives, and a brand new airplane program. Assuredly, air cargo requirements are impacting these new designs.
  • The 757PF Package Freighter will be introduced in 1987 to provide the exploding package-carrier market with all the efficiency and operational advantages a new airplane can offer in this application.
  • Significant improvements in range capability and fuel efficiency of the world's most popular wide-body, the 747, will be embodied in the 747-400 passenger and Combi versions, with deliveries starting in late 1988.
  • Plans are in work to develop Freighter, Convertible or Combi versions of the 767, the most fuel-efficient short- to medium- to long-range wide-body flying today.
  • In 1992 Boeing will deliver a new, revolutionary product in air transportation. Designed with customers' requirements in mind for cost-efficiency and operational flexibility, the 7J7 airplane poses a new challenge to Boeing. The costs for producing any new airplane must be reduced substantially compared to current methodologies, to allow the airplane operating economics to successfully compete with aircraft already in service.
The bottom line of any Boeing design objective is to deliver the most airplane for the lowest possible cost and, for the air-cargo industry, the most cost-effective, productive, air-freight version. That is our challenge.

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