By Scott Hamilton
April 6, 2021, © Leeham News: As if Boeing didn’t have enough challenges these days, its near-exclusive dominance for new-build freighter may be threatened.
Airbus is showing airlines and lessors a freight version of the A350 that is midway in length between the -900 and -1000 passenger versions. If enough orders are lined up—50 is said to be the magic number—Airbus could launch the program as early as this year.
But the Airbus threat isn’t the only one to Boeing’s decades’ long leadership in new-build freighters.
International regulations that take effect in 2027 mean the 777-200LRF and 767-300ERF that Boeing builds today can no longer be produced from 2027. The two aircraft won’t meet new, strict noise and emissions regulations. The engine designs and technology on the 777F date to the 1990s. Those on the 767s date to the 1980s.
The 777-8F was to be Boeing’s next generation freighter. However, program delays, financial pressures, and certification challenges cast doubts whether the -8F will be launched.