China Airlines is modernising its cargo fleet with the procurement of six 777 Freighters from Boeing in a deal valued at $2.1bn.

With this move, the carrier has plans to switch to the largest and longest-range twin-engine freighters. The company is launching operations from Taipei to North America. It is currently operating 747 Freighter fleets.

The airline operator had already revealed its interest to acquire up to six 777 Freighters at the Paris Air Show in June.

Boeing commercial sales and marketing senior vice-president Ihssane Mounir said: “As China Airlines celebrates more than half a century of success; Boeing is honoured to continue playing an integral role in its growth and expansion.

“With this order, China Airlines will join an elite group of global air cargo operators operating the new 777 Freighters.

“With the global air freight market forecasted to double over the next 20 years, the 777 Freighter’s market-leading capabilities and economics will help China Airlines extend their network and grow their future cargo business.”

The 777 Freighter is capable of conducting trans-Pacific long-range missions at a range of 6,000nm and can carry 20% extra payload than the 747-400F.

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It can also accommodate 27 2.5m x 3m standard pallets on the main deck.

China Airlines chairman Hsieh Su-Chien said: “Air cargo is an important part of our overall business and the introduction of these new 777 Freighters will play an integral role in our long-term growth strategy.

“As we transition our freighter fleet to the 777Fs, this will enable us to deliver world-class services to our customers more efficiently and reliably.”

The company operates 51 Boeing aeroplanes, which includes ten 777-300ERs, 19 next-generation 737s, four 747-400s and 18 747 Freighters.