Thai Airways International has signed a block-space agreement to utilize the entire flying time of two new Boeing 777-200 Long Range Freighters (777-200LRFs) to be operated by Southern Air Inc. (SAI) from early next year.
Under the agreement, Thai International has contracted all of the capacity on SAI’s brand-new Boeing 777-200LRFs, says Pruet Boobphakam, Thai’s executive vice president commercial and acting managing director of its Cargo & Mail Commercial Department.
The agreement makes Thai the first operator in the region to offer Boeing 777F capability to its cargo customers, says Boobphakam.
The Boeing 777-200LR Freighter ― often known simply as the 777 Freighter, or 777F ― is the most advanced freighter aircraft built to date in terms of fuel efficiency and has more than 100 metric tons of cargo capacity.
SAI will take delivery of its two new 777Fs in early 2010 and expects to operate them initially on Thai Airways’ all-cargo routes from Bangkok to Europe. SAI expects the aircraft eventually will also operate routes from Bangkok to Australia, the U.S. and other areas.
“There is growing recognition in the cargo industry that the Boeing 777LRF will be the long-haul aircraft for the coming decade and beyond, and our new partnership with Thai Cargo only confirms this recognition,” said Brian Neff, president of SAI, at the signing ceremony for the block-space agreement.
Headquartered in Norwalk, Connecticut, Southern Air was founded in 1999 as a low-cost, high-quality cargo carrier specializing in the provision of block space and aircraft, crew, maintenance, and insurance (ACMI) services. Today Southern Air operates a fleet of 17 Boeing 747-200F converted freighters.
Southern Air says it is the first ACMI operator in the world to operate the next generation of freighter aircraft, which includes the Boeing 777-200LRF and the forthcoming Boeing 747-8F.