Well it seems to have been a long wait but five new models from Phoenix arrive next week! In the mean time, my big stockpile of freighter reviews needs to fill the gaps!
Many of you will have watched Ultimate Airport Dubai at some time or another, and probably scratched your heads at the sometimes less than common sense approach the lone Englishman, who operates the cargo side of the business, seems to be almost overwhelmed by, as his ‘colleagues’ screw up basics like counting numbers, safe practice, and vehicle handling. In the background, A6-EFF has often lurked.
Emirates Sky Cargo is one of the few success stories in an industry that has been hammered in recent years with declining aircraft numbers, over capacity and collapsing demand. Consolidations and bankruptcy have been frequent business partners for too many. Passenger airliners like the 787, 773, and A380 have transformed belly cargo capabilities and major airlines from British Airways to Thai have totally disposed of their cargo aircraft. Others like Lufthansa have had to lay up many aircraft and adapt. The number of 742F cargo aircraft has shrunk to as few as 22 globally, and even the 744F is having a hard time making ends meet for demanding operators, with high costs and tight margins.
In the Very Large segment, really only the 748F is available and nobody wants it, orders for the last 6 months are zero and none are likely. 744 Conversions are unheard of now, the market wants smaller – 757 is in demand for express services and 767 to a lesser degree. The 777F is doing OK but it’s not a huge demand. The future, as both Airbus and Boeing have spotted and are working on, is A320 and 737 conversions. the A330F sells in tiny handfuls, with Qatar Cargo being it’s biggest customer.
Even so, Emirates – and Qatar Cargo owe their success to both countries geographical location, ideal for trans-shipment just as it is for transit passenger services.
I’ve often said that Emirates, whose demanding standards have forced Gemini to pay a little more attention to their models, get better treatment than almost anyone else. This 2014 model is possibly the worst example of an Emirates model I’ve ever seen, but having said that it’s still a hell of a lot better than average! It’s like saying that only the highest quality diamond is FL Flawless and the next down is VVI. You’d never know unless you were an expert.
A6-EFF, technically a 777-F1H was delivered on 25 August 2011 on lease from DAE Capital, a Dubai owned, Washington state based aircraft leasing, sales and re-marketing company. She was the third of thirteen currently in service with the airline. The first was delivered in March 2009, the last in August 2015.
Produced in the Emirates red box for officially licensed product, these were available from Gemini and the Emirates official store, online and at DXB.
This is an old mould and it shows. With only a different set of wings I doubt it’s been replaced since the days of the split tail version. To my mind the nose isn’t really quite where it should be shape wise – its actually nothing like the line diagram on the box! However to the uninitiated or the less pedantic, it makes little odds.
The all white as usual highlights all of the Emirates livery and much of the small detail, which is generally excellent.
2) Wings and landing gear
Too much gloss paint up top almost eradicates the finer detail, way to much underneath succeeds completely in doing so.
The cradle looks unsightly from the rear quarters as so often, being skewed a fraction out of alignment, on the rear port quarter. Why is it always like this? Why does nobody ever fix the bloody thing!
Landing gear has the two six rolling wheel bogies which also tilt. However the tyres are lumpy and unsightly, two of the wheels have a hole in the centre and the light grey plastic they’re made from isn’t ideal. The nose gear wheels are stiff but the tyres are excellent.
The big General Electric GE90-110B1 units are generally exceptional, but and unlike most models for Emirates, the paint on the rims is a tiny bit wobbly in places. Now it passes the eyeball test, but it’s rare to find a failing on an Emirates model even this small.
Faultless. You never get even a tad of colour bleed or definition fail on Emirates models. Odd how they can do it when it suits them.
5) Nose detail
OK I don’t think the shape is perfect, but what there is, is detailed and neat, windows and the surrounding detail are all excellent.
7)Score and conclusions
- -4 for the tyres/wheels
- -4 for the over glossed wings
- -2 for the skew in the wing cradle fit
- -2 for the rims silver wobble – yes it may pass the eyeball test but this is Emirates and usually everything is perfect!
- 88% Not by any means perfect, but so much better than much of what Gemini produced in 2014.
My concern as ever, is that Emirates models are SO good, as they are for Etihad, that I want to know why EVERY model doesn’t reach the same standard. We pay enough for them so how about making more of an effort?