Rejuvenating the current in-service cargo fleet

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By Vincent Valery


Aug. 30, 2021, © Leeham News: The COVID-19 pandemic lingers on passenger airlines, delaying a full traffic recovery. At the same time, the freighter market is very active and shows no signs of abating.

Credit: Airbus

A surplus of passenger aircraft and record cargo demand means that passenger-to-freighter conversion lines are firing on all cylinders. On top of the existing Boeing 757 and 767 lines, new ones are coming online to convert Airbus A321s, A330s, and 777-300ERs.

Airbus launched the A350F program while Boeing is pondering a 777X-F program. Airbus is also discussing the launch of a factory A321F. The European OEM wants to increase its footprint in a Boeing stronghold.

Boeing also keeps accumulating new freighter orders at a healthy pace.

While some factory-built and converted freighters will be for growth, a significant portion will replace older in-service aircraft.

To complement the ongoing series comparing the economics of freighter aircraft and analysis of historical deliveries, LNA now examines the current in-service fleet. Analyzing aircraft in operation will help determine the most promising replacement opportunities for converted and factory freighters.

  • Overall jet freighter fleet view;
  • Significant single-aisle replacement opportunities;
  • One market concentrates most small dual-aisle fleet;
  • One large freighter fleet up for replacement;
  • A factor that could accelerate replacements.

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