Airbus Freighter Flies Ahead of Boeing

Expecting the e-commerce boom to continue beyond the pandemic, aircraft manufacturer Airbus aims to launch a freighter version of its A350 aircraft in 2025, flying into one of Boeing’s most lucrative markets.

The decision to launch the freighter was based on customer demand for a wide-body aircraft to rival Boeing’s B777F and B767F. The A350 will have 20% less fuel burn than existing twin-jet freighters, 30% less than a three-jet aircraft, and 40% less than a four-engine model, Airbus says.

Although the A350 will have less capacity than Boeing’s forthcoming B777X freighter, its ability to meet the new International Civil Aviation Organization emissions regulations coming in 2028 may give it an edge. Airbus says the regulations will make existing wide-body freighters obsolete.

Boeing has been working on its B777X since 2013, and noted it will need a cargo jet that complies with the new emission standards.

Boeing initially expected to release it for airline use in 2020. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration told Boeing the 777X is not ready for a significant certification step, and won’t likely certify the aircraft until 2023.

Emirates recently warned Boeing that it would refuse delivery of 777X jets if they fall short of performance commitments. It has ordered 126 of the 777X and 30 of the 787s, worth more than $50 billion.

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