By Charlotte Seet
CMA CGM Group Becomes Latest Airbus A350F Customer
The air cargo market has been soaring sky high with an expectation of reaching a record-breaking $175 billion this year, painting an even brighter picture for the coming 2022.
An estimate by Chicago-based aircraft manufacturer Boeing sees that the overall air cargo industry revenues were increased by over 15%, whereby freighters remain the backbone of the massive industry.
Dedicated freighters allow for palletized capacity, hazmat and project cargo considerations that passenger aircraft cannot truly offer, which is why the global freighter fleet is also expected to grow by over 60 percent over the next two decades.
Both commercial and cargo airlines worldwide would definitely be wanting to order the best freighter that would suit their capacity and network needs, indicating that the market for introducing game-changing freighters is just starting to boom.
Boeing has been slightly more domineering in the freighter market, with the popular likes of the Boeing 747F and the 777F, as well as the 737F, but fellow rival Airbus is looking to turn the tables quite soon.
During the Dubai Airshow, Airbus has managed to obtain quite a good number of orders for its highly-anticipated Airbus A350F, a dramatically positive change considering the manufacturer has not truly been able to sell a freighter for a considerably long time.
The first A350F customer was Air Lease Corporation, which had ordered a grand total of 111 aircraft, including seven A350F, 25 A220-300, 55 A321neo, 20 A321XLR and four A330neo.
Following close behind was the CMA CGM Group – a global leader in shipping and logistics – as a binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the two parties.
Planned to be operated by CMA CGM Air Cargo, the purchase of four A350F aircraft will bring CMA CGM’s total Airbus fleet to nine aircraft, including the current five A330-200F already present.
“We are proud to welcome CMA CGM Air Cargo in the group of operators for the A350F and we are equally pleased to support the company’s future strategic development,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International in a press release.
The first-ever A350F aircraft is scheduled to be deli ered in 2025 and is set to be based on the extremely popular A350, the world’s most modern long-range leader.
Featuring a large main deck cargo door and a fuselage length that will be best optimized for cargo operations, the A350F will allow for airlines to serve all types of cargo markets such as express, general cargo and special cargo – potentially allowing for the A350F to offer more freighter volume as compared to the 777F.
Additionally, more than 70% of the airframe will be made of advanced materials to save on take-off weight and allow for almost 20% less fuel burn, making the A350F to be the only new generation freighter aircraft ready for the enhanced 2027 ICAO carbon emissions standards.
Scherer went on to add that “the A350F will fit seamlessly thanks to its composite airframe and latest technology engines, it will bring unbeatable efficiency in terms of fuel burn, economics and CO₂ emissions,” allowing for long-term sustainable growth of Airbus customers.
With such inquisitive features on the A350F, Airbus could finally be looking at the end of its freighter market drought as its current regular A350 commercial customers could start putting in orders as well.
Holding the title as the world’s biggest A350 customer, Singapore Airlines might consider the opportunity considering that its current freighter fleets include the reliable, but less-fuel efficient and aging Boeing 747-4ooF.
Other potential customers will include Qatar Airways, which had previously hinted interest in the freighter version of its flagship aircraft, or even the likes of Cathay Pacific Cargo and Lufthansa Cargo.