Boeing has recently announced that the 747 program is coming to an end. One of the key features of the freight 747s was the nose door, which facilitated faster loading of freight and allowed the loading of freight that could not otherwise be carried.

Other than the 747 are there any current, recent or planned airliners that have the option for a nose door? will this be a facility that the cargo carriers lose as their current 747s gradually reach end of life? (which granted will be decades after production stops)

I am aware of several other planes with nose-doors but they are either old military-derived types (e.g. the AN-124 and AN-225) or are specialist planes designed for carrying awkward cargo (e.g. the Airbus Beluga and Beluga XL).

  • $\begingroup$ You didn't mention the C-5 Galaxy: google.com/search?q=c5+galaxy+nose+opening $\endgroup$ – abelenky Jul 10 '20 at 19:02
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    $\begingroup$ @abelenky Perhaps because it isn't an airliner? Perhaps because it is neither current, recent, nor planned? $\endgroup$ – T.J.L. Jul 10 '20 at 19:12
  • $\begingroup$ @T.J.L. I think the An-124 neither but it is cited in the question. $\endgroup$ – Manu H Jul 10 '20 at 19:30
  • $\begingroup$ @ManuH You've missed point - there's no need for the original poster to list every single plane with a nose door. That said, the An-124 was at least flown in commercial/civilian service, the C-5 never was (nobody bought the non-military L-500 version). $\endgroup$ – T.J.L. Jul 10 '20 at 20:50
  • $\begingroup$ @T.J.L. The confusion came from the word "airliner" you used in your comment to mean "civilian". $\endgroup$ – Manu H Jul 11 '20 at 6:34

Excluding those aircraft in your question the answer is no. The 747 started really as a cargo aircraft, but given that more and more aircraft are available, the cost of development of another cargo only aircraft doesn’t make sense. Cargo operators can just buy old passenger aircraft, and they will continue to as the cost of development of aircraft is enormous, and most airlines at the moment (and most likely for the foreseeable future) are favoring smaller, thinner routes.

Sadly, the 747 and its nose door will be only a sight for cargo airlines soon.


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