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Boeing has significantly accelerated planning for the long-considered launch of a converted freighter version of its stalwart 777-300ER passenger plane, as it juggles the combination of surging demand for pandemic recovery twin-aisles and delivery delays to its 777X and 787s.

One senior industry executive told The Air Current that the project is “under serious evaluation” and there was a chance a launch could come as early as the Farnborough Air Show in July, but cautioned Boeing is “under a lot of pressure from all sides” and kicking off its second large freighter program (after the 777X freighter) may slip beyond the industry gathering.

Related: Boeing preps 777X for slip deep into 2024, as it triages 787 & 737 Max 10

“We recognize the demand for a 777 converted freighter option,” Boeing said in a statement to The Air Current. “We are studying options and anticipate communicating our next steps to customers later this year.” 

While a converted 777-300ER may ultimately ride the wave of high-volume e-commerce and rising ocean freight costs into the latter part of the decade, launching in 2022 is about far more than just pandemic cargo dynamics.

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Jon Ostrower is Editor-in-chief of The Air Current. Prior to launching TAC in June 2018, Ostrower served as Aviation Editor for CNN Worldwide, guiding the network's global coverage of the business and operations of flying. Ostrower joined CNN in 2016 following four and half years at the Wall Street Journal. Based first in Chicago and then in Washington, D.C. he covered Boeing, aviation safety and the business of global aerospace. Before that, Ostrower was editor of the award-winning FlightBlogger for Flightglobal and Flight International Magazine covering the development of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and other new aircraft programs from 2007 to 2012. Ostrower, a Boston native, graduated from The George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs with a bachelor's degree in Political Communication. He is based in Seattle.

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