MIAMI – Airbus is considering producing and taking orders for a possible A350F (Freighter version) in the coming months to compete against Boeing’s dominance in the air cargo market.

The COVID-19 pandemic saw the air cargo market boom. Ever since, several airlines have made a move to either purchase or lease out a freighter aircraft or, convert an existing passenger aircraft into a freighter, also known as “P2F”.

747-8F First Flight Photo: Boeing

What Airbus Has to Say

“The freighter market is underserved by Airbus today,” Chief Commercial Officer Christian Scherer said on a webcast briefing.

“Many of our customers have told us, ‘You have been a formidable force in this industry… Please do so on the freighter market as well.” That’s an important message to take into account.”

Although the company hasn’t made a final decision yet, it would be a major step to gain a fair share in the cargo market. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Air cargo demand in April 2021, rose 12% compared with April 2019, before the pandemic.  

FedEx Boeing 777F. Photo: Thomas Saunders

A Potential Order

The CEO of Qatar Airways (QR), Mr. Akbar Al Baker stated in an interview with that the airline would be delighted to be the launch customer of the A350F.

“Definitely, we will be at the front of the queue. We will be soon replacing our current fleet of freighters, and we would want to replace it with the best freighter that is available. We would be very happy to be the launch customer of the new variant…”  

Until now, the Airbus A330-200F was the only freighter from airbus, with less than 50 aircraft delivered until the date that stands against Boeing’s mighty 777F, 747-400ER(F)/747-8F, and the 767F.

The possible introduction of the A350F would place a firm foot into the Air cargo market and open new doors to the growth in world cargo.

Featured image: Airbus A350-1000 test flight. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways