For years, U.S. frame maker, Boeing, dominated the international freighter market. Airbus cargo versions, on the other hand, such as the A330F, were more of a niche product. However, thanks to the new A350F, the European consortium has stepped back into the ring, contesting archrival, Boeing. With considerable success, as the Singapore Airshow 2022 is proving.
Today (16FEB22), Singapore Airlines confirmed a firm order for 7 Airbus A350 freighters, with options for 5 additional aircraft. The A350F will replace the existing seven Boeing 747-400F, and build the backbone of the airline’s future freighter fleet, the carrier announced while inking the contract. According to Airbus stats, their new generation widebody freighter can uplift 109 tons per flight. It consumes up to 40% less fuel than the 747-400F in comparable operations, reducing SIA’s CO2 emissions by approximately 400,000 tons annually. The decision in favor of the A350F supports Singapore Airlines Group's aim of achieving net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest, the airline emphasizes.
SIA followed by Etihad
The ink on the contract was not yet really dry when Etihad Airways also placed a letter of intent for the purchase of 7 A350F. This was preceded by agreements between the leasing company, Air Lease Corporation, and Airbus, for the purchase of 7 A350F, followed by further orders or letters of intent from the shipping line CMA CGM, and AF-KL-MP.
To date, the A350F has won firm orders and commitments for 29 aircraft from 5 customers. Nevertheless, this puts the Airbus freighter only in second place, as its direct competitor, Boeing’s B777-8F, has received orders for 34 aircraft so far. However, this has only been done by a single customer: Qatar Airways. The Gulf airline is in heavy dispute with Airbus concerning high recourse claims based on paintwork damages detected on the fuselage of the A350 passenger version, which are now pending decision of a London court. Given this conflict, it is self-explanatory that Qatar Airways has circumvented the European manufacturer when ordering new freighters, despite its large A350 passenger fleet.
Additional A321P2F conversions announced
The conversion sector also stood high on the agenda of Airbus' Singapore program, as demonstrated by the announcement of Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW). For example, the converter, which belongs to ST Engineering and Airbus, reported an order placed by European aircraft lessor, Smart Lynx, to convert six A321 passenger aircraft to freighters. The remodeling work will be done this year and in 2023, and will be performed at ST Engineering’s sites in Singapore and China. Once accomplished, all six A321P2F aircraft will be operated by DHL within the integrator’s pan European network.
“These new orders, which came after SmartLynx leased and operated its first A321P2F freighter converted by EFW, are a stamp of approval for our conversion solutions,” said Andreas Sperl, CEO of EFW. “We are confident that our P2F programs will create great value for customers such as SmartLynx, as they plan on growing their fleet with reliable and high-performance freighter aircraft.” Smartlynx Airlines’ CEO, Zygimantas Surintas responded to this, saying that his company is convinced that “this type of aircraft will become the top choice for customers, globally.”
… including A330 conversions
Only a day before, Dublin and Hong Kong-based aircraft lessor, CDB Aviation ordered twelve conversions from EFW, bringing its A330 P2F fleet to 14 aircraft. Once converted, the aircraft will be operated by Sichuan Airlines and Jiangxi Cargo Airlines. The physical and mechanical work will be performed in Shanghai and Mobile,USA.
SIA Cargo and freight booking platform cargo.one jointly announced a global partnership, enabling customers to book shipments in real-time on board the Asian carrier's fleet by utilizing cargo.one's digital platform. Chin Yau Seng, Senior VP Cargo, Singapore Aairlines, states: "We are committed to the continued digitalization of all areas of our business. Through our partnership with cargo.one, we have the ability to offer our customers an enhanced online booking experience with greater speed, flexibility, and convenience."
According to the Berlin-based agent, roughly 2,600+ forwarder offices are using cargo.one regularly for searching and booking capacity offered by 19 airlines collaborating with cargo.one.
The accord with Singapore Airlines Cargo comprises "an important further expansion into Asia for cargo.one, and we have just appointed Fabrice Godeau as Vice President Airlines, Asia Pacific," reads a release.
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