LONDON – EVA Air (BR) has reportedly converted its remaining Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners on order for smaller aircraft.

The airline had announced yesterday that deals were made with Boeing to make this switch. Instead, the carrier will receive three Boeing 777 Freighters and four of the smaller 787-9 aircraft instead.

EVA Air Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner. Photo: Aviation Tribune

A Sensible Move During COVID?

This may come through as sensible news, especially with the order for additional freighters instead. BR received its first 777 Freighter last year.

Cargo traffic is currently bouncing due to the COVID-19 pandemic requiring millions of tonnes worth of shipments every month. BR in particular has experienced a 60% growth in cargo revenue.

The Boeing 787-9 will of course carry less passengers than those of the -10, but given the low slump in demand for passengers, it is something EVA will not be missing out on in particular.

EVA Air Boeing 777 Freighter. Photo: FlightGlobal

Savings to Move Forward

With this converted deal, it is understood the airline will save around US$112m with the new deal. The Boeing 787-10 were initially ordered for a list price of US$7bn back in 2015.

As passenger numbers decrease by around 90% globally and a recovery to at least take place by 2024, cargo does seem to be the way forward for the airline.

Additionally, the savings made from the initial order would produce a far greater return on the investment. This rings true, especially with the focal point of cargo not expected to die down for many years to come.

EVA Air Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Better Range with the Boeing 787-9

Once passenger traffic begins to bounce back to 2019 levels, then BR will benefit from the better range of the Boeing 787-9.

The 787-10 currently has a maximum range of 12,964km, with the 787-9 offering 14,800km, meaning more trans-pacific flights could take place to the United States in particular.

It could also open up more destinations to the carrier, especially ones that may not have been previously reachable from Taiwan. The airline already has around two years of experience with the -9, having received its first of the type back in 2018.

EVA Air Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner. Photo: Air Lease Corporation

Small Steps Producing Large Success?

It remains clear that this small adjustment could produce quite the healthy return for BR. With cargo at an all-time high, it is of interest for EVA to keep penetrating that market, especially in Asia.

Smaller aircraft at this stage make perfect sense during this volatile time. Again, these can be used as extra cargo aircraft down the road, too.

For EVA, it will be interesting to see how much of a return it can acquire from the cargo side, especially as it aims to reduce any financial turmoil post-pandemic.

Featured Image: EVA Air Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner. Photo: EVA Air