Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA) is acquiring two Boeing 777 freighters in response to the "expanding market in Asia, China, and North America".
In a short statement with few hard details, parent group ANA Holdings said: "The delivery is scheduled for 2019, and ANA Holdings is looking forward to actively acquiring the growing cargo demand using the synergies of the expanding passenger flight network and the large freighters."
While ANA is a major operator of the 777 passenger jet, it has grown its cargo operation with the medium-sized 767 Freighter.
"In adding the 777 Freighter – the world's largest and longest range twin-engine cargo jet – ANA is expanding its cargo capabilities just as the air freight market keeps growing at historically high rates," Boeing said.
"Air cargo is an essential part of global trade growth," said Hiroshi Sugiguchi, vice president, corporate planning and administration, ANA Cargo.
"We are committed to playing a critical role in further advancing Japan's economic growth through trade and these new freighter airplanes will help us accomplish our goal. ANA will ensure that our cargo operations reflect the five-star service that we have garnered over the past several years."
The move is most likely linked to the announcement earlier this month that ANA and Nippon Cargo Airlines (NCA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to build a strategic business partnership.
The new partnership between Japan's largest cargo carriers adds to a growing network of strategic partnerships already in place with other airlines, including Lufthansa Cargo, United Cargo, SIA Cargo and Cargolux.
A joint statement said that ANA and NCA plan to add code shares to each other’s flights within the first half of the fiscal year 2018, subject to regulatory approval.
"The codeshares will offer a broad network of flights and a wider range of choices to the partner’s customers, allowing seamless and convenient connections with outstanding Japan-quality service, and especially leveraging the synergy effect of ANA’s Boeing 767 operation to China and Asia, and NCA’s Boeing 747 freighter operation to North America and Europe.
"ANA’s plans to introduce Boeing 777 freighters will further increase the customer choice."
The B777F is capable of flying 9,070km with a payload of 102 metric tonnes. "The airplane's long range translates into significant savings as fewer stops mean lower landing fees, less congestion, lower cargo handling costs and shorter delivery times," Boeing said.