Airbus Announces the A350 Freighter

After much speculation, Airbus has announced the freighter variant of the A350, called the A350F.

Airbus is confident that the A350 freighter will be successful, and that they will not repeat the strategic error in developing its previous widebody freighter – the A330-200F – of which Airbus has sold only 38. The crucial miscalculation, in that case, was believing that customers would value the range of the A330-200F over its heavy-freight capability. As a result, Airbus had chosen to base its A330 freighter on the longer-range -200 passenger aircraft rather than the larger -300, which turned out to be a mistake.

The American leasing company Air Lease Corporation (ALC) is reported to be the first customer of the A350F, signing a letter of intent for seven aircraft. Deliveries are expected to commence by 2026.

Airbus says that the new A350F will carry the same volume as the Boeing 747F, and three tonnes more payload than the 777F, while being 20 tonnes lighter in empty weight, and nearly 7 meters longer than the 777F.

It is widely speculated that most customers who already operate the A350 passenger variant will be seen to operate the A350F as the two variants share 100% engine parts commonality and 99% airframe commonality.

In a segment dominated by Boeing, this is an exciting development for the world of cargo aircraft!

An infographic of the new aircraft is shown below:

Sources:

FlightGlobal, Sam Chui, Simple Flying

36 Likes

This is really cool! I wonder what airlines will order this…

I can see the feature request already

6 Likes

Sounds quite interesting

4 Likes

Amazing! One of my favourite aircraft! Looks stunning 😊

2 Likes

99.5% operation reliability. Is the missing 0.5% for when then surface paint deteriorates, and the planes must be taken out of service? Smh. 🤦‍♂️


Thanks for sharing, Sooraj! I’m excited to see who will be the first customer (excluding Air Lease).

5 Likes

This made me laugh 😂
It’s probably legal/insurance purposes lol.

3 Likes

Omg this is hilarious 😂

1 Like

I think I remember reading a few unconfirmed reports that Qatar has shown a definite interest. Which makes sense, because they were the A350’s launch customer for the passenger variant.

Another possibility is operators who fly converted passenger-to-freight (P2F) A330 aircraft. This would be a good replacement candidate for them. For example, DHL or Egyptair.

And of course, another possibility includes airlines who have already seen success with the A350 passenger variant, and who have dedicated cargo services. For example, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa etc.

1 Like

I’ve heard that it could be considered by Malaysia Airlines as a replacement and expansion for their cargo subsidiary, could very well fit into their fleet to given they have an all Airbus widebody fleet.

2 Likes

I heard via Twitter that Airbus did some Flights with A350s from Toulouse with Cargolux to show them the capabilitys

1 Like

I suppose the A350F would be a very suitable replacement to their ageing B747-400F fleet. Truth be told, the introduction of the B747-8F didn’t really seem to be a replacement to their B747-400F fleet, but rather an addition to complement its existing operations.

4 Likes

I think A350F will compete with B777F and B777BCF (-200 and -300ER). while B777XF will be the replacement for B747F.

I just think the A350 won’t do as good as the 77F. I think this because the 77F has done its job and became a very popular and firm choice for cargo operators and still continues to do its job to a very well extent. However, I think it will be a strong competitor among the 77F because of its fuel efficiency. But I may be wrong, the A350F may come along and do better than the 77F. I guess only time will tell. Also, it is nice to see that Cargolux is doing flights, maybe they’ll add to their fleet a new aircraft type. It is too, sad to see these new freighters come in because it will lead to the end of the 747-4F, which I love the 747 Fs.

3 Likes

But I gotta say… That is a good looking aircraft and I hope we get it in IF!

I have a feeling its primary target is the 747F. Those things are dinosaurs, the A350F is supposed to carry as much load, with greater fuel efficiency. They’re not targeting the 777F as much.

1 Like

Yeah, I do now see your point. Man its sad to see the oldies go.

1 Like

I am not sure of the prices, but it might be a bit too pricey. Freighter economics differ from pax versions as we know. A carbon fiber construction only offers marginal improvements versus an already amortized traditional construction. While it may work, the 77F will still probably hold that dominance for a long while. I mean, if Airbus can make an A350F, what’s stopping Boeing from doing a 787F (not going to happen cause of the 777XF). Plus on top of it, we finally will see 777-300 freighters as Boeing is starting to make those conversions! I’m still a little speculative of how it will turn out, but I guess we shall see as it develops more and more data is given.

Plus let’s be honest, it’s gonna suck to see the 747F’s go…

2 Likes

The basic specifications released shows that the A350F will have a cargo volume 10% greater than the B77F, and a similar capacity to that of the B747-8F. That said, it does only have a cargo payload of about 5 tons more than the B77F but still 20 tons short of the B747-8F. You could say that it fits right in the middle and has the potential of rivalling the B77F as well as the B747-8F.

Given the climate in this day and age, I think cargo companies might want to start placing emphasis on efficiency, as most of them do operate older and more dated fleets.

According to Airbus: A350F | Freighters | Aircraft | Airbus Aircraft

A350F_vs_777F_Final_1

With equal volume as the 747F, +3t more payload compared to the 777F, and offering more range, the A350F delivers robust capabilities to ensure continuity for your operations.

The A350F demonstrates unbeatable fuel efficiency, with 40% lower fuel burn and CO2 emissions compared to the 747F.

This higher efficiency is a decisive advantage versus the 2028 in-production limit of the ICAO CO2 standard. With its new generation design, the A350F will be the only large freighter capable of meeting this requirement.

Yes, A350F can replace both B777F and B747F’s

2 Likes

Yeah, the thing they have going for them is that it’s an extremely good aircraft, with the pax variant. And they’ve packed in some good features with the freighter to make it appealing for logistics operators.

I’m a Boeing guy 😅 but this aircraft is really nice though.

1 Like