A history of jet freighter aircraft

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By Vincent Valery


A Cathay Pacific 747-8F

July 29, 2021, © Leeham News: Last week, LNA compared the performance of the 777F against the A350F, launched today. As a follow-up, we thought it relevant to look at the history of freighter aircraft derived from passenger jets at the major OEMs.

Shortly after the dawn of the jet age, Boeing and McDonnell Douglas started selling freighter variants of their 707 and DC-8, respectively. Most aircraft families developed later at both OEMs would receive a freighter variant in one form or another.

We will stick for our analysis to Freighter aircraft delivered off the assembly line at the world’s Western OEMs: Airbus, Boeing, Lockheed, and McDonnell Douglas.

  • What is a Freighter aircraft?
  • A minor but worthwhile market after initial euphoria;
  • Single-aisle against twin-aisle;
  • A Queen of the Freighters;
  • An OEM’s fortress is another’s weakness.

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