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The aircraft was a Boeing 747-2R7F/SCD freighter,[note 1] registration B-198, built in September 1980 for another airline. The ROC Ministry of Transportation Civil Aviation Authority acquired the aircraft in June 1985 and then leased it to China Airlines.
^The aircraft was a Boeing 747-200 model; Boeing assigns a unique code for each company that buys one of its aircraft, which was applied as a suffix to the model number at the time the aircraft was built, hence "747-2R7". This aircraft was a freighter with a large door in its side for loading cargo, hence "747-2R7F/SCD" for Freighter/Side Cargo Door.