No surge in new-build freighters from COVID expected

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By Scott Hamilton

Introduction

Aug. 17, 2020, © Leeham News: Coronavirus caused a spike in freight demand. But don’t look for Airbus or Boeing to see a spike in demand for new build freighters.

Boeing hoped to advance the timeline for the launch of the 777-8F. The original plan for the 777X family was entry-into-service of the -9 in late 2019 or early 2020. The 777-8 passenger model (8P) would follow by two years. The -8F would follow two years after that.

As the -9 EIS slipped to late 2020 and the 737 MAX grounding took its toll, -8 development was suspended. The -8P EIS was unofficially reset to 2024.

Now, the 777-9 EIS is rescheduled to 2022. Production of the 777 line is going to 2/mo. With freight demand spiking due to COVID and widebody passenger production not expected to recover until 2025, Boeing thought advancing the -8F launch could boost the X line.

It’s not to be.

Summary
  • Boeing hoped to launch the 777-8F with 2024 EIS.
  • No market interest scotched the plan.
  • P2F conversions of 777-300ER gain interest.
  • Airbus hopes for A330-900F are dashed.

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