The national airline of the UAE, Etihad Airways has signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with European multinational aerospace corporation, Airbus for seven A350F freighters to expand its existing fleet of five A350-1000 passenger versions, during the Singapore Airshow 2022.
Commenting on the deal, Mr. Tony Douglas, chief executive of Etihad Aviation Group, “As our cargo operations continue to over-perform and we work towards a more sustainable future built upon the world’s youngest and most fuel-efficient fleet, the addition of the A350F will play a key role in driving our long-term cargo strategy and achieving our 2035 target to reduce CO2 emissions by 50 percent.”
This decision is in line with Mr. Douglas’ announcement in the Airshow 2021, that Etihad is considering the replacement of the currently operational 777 freighters with the new generation freighter models, the Airbus A350 and Boeing’s 777X.
Meanwhile, Mr. Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer stated that “We are pleased to sign this agreement with our long-standing partner Etihad, shortly before this most discerning airline also introduces A350 passenger service. Thank you, Etihad for endorsing the game-changing nature of the new A350F.”
“The world’s only new generation large freighter will be unmatched in its market segment in terms of range, fuel consumption, and CO₂ savings,” Mr. Scherer further added.
Boeing and Airbus are witnessing rising demand for dedicated and converted freighter aircraft after the COVID-19 pandemic grounded large wide-body passenger aircraft used for carrying cargo.
Since the emergence of COVID-19, air cargo has been a rare bright spot for the aviation industry with fares rising due to a surge in e-commerce sales and increasing demand for air goods services.