Boeing and Airbus freighter battle

By Scott Hamilton

Oct. 28, 2021, © Leeham News: Boeing yesterday gave its clearest indication yet that it’s moving closer to launching the 777X Freighter.

In a message to employees in conjunction with its third quarter earnings release Oct. 27, CEO David Calhoun said, “We’re progressing in development across several key franchise defense programs, and on the 737-7, 737-10 and 777X development and certification efforts. We’re also evaluating the timing of a freighter version of the 777X and are beginning to lay the foundation for our next commercial airplane development program.” News reports earlier suggest Boeing may launch the XF at the Dubai Air Show.

On the earnings call, Calhoun was slightly more expansive. “Given the continued robust freighter demand and the compelling economics of the 777X, we are currently evaluating the timing of launching a freighter version of our 777X airplane.”

A Lufhansa Boeing 777F freighter.

Inching toward the 777XF

Calhoun said that cargo traffic is 8% higher year-to-date through August compared to 2019.

“With limited belly cargo capacity on passenger airlines, more dedicated freighters are being utilized to transport cargo. This is resulting in healthy demand for our freighter offerings, with 24 additional freighter airplanes ordered in the quarter and strong demand for Boeing converted freighters. In fact, our converted and new freighter orders through the first nine months of this year have already surpassed our highest annual freighter tally in history,” Calhoun said. “With sustained demand for air cargo tied to expanding e-commerce and air freight’s speed and reliability, we project the global freighter fleet in 2040 will be 70% larger than the pre-pandemic fleet.”

Airbus A350F

Airbus launched the A350F in July. But it didn’t announce launch customers or specifications. These are expected soon.

In an interview during the IATA AGM Oct. 3-5 in Boston, Christian Scherer, Airbus’ chief commercial officer, said the A350F is being offered to all-cargo and combination carriers. The latter are airlines that operator passenger and cargo services. These include airlines such as Air France, Korean Air Lines and Singapore Airlines.

The A350F, which is based on the A350-1000, has the same MTOW as the A350-1000, but it’s slightly shorter. It has the same engine, same wing, and same landing gear. There is some structural reinforcement, Scherer said.

“What matters to us is that we get good input from the customers that have convinced us to develop an airplane and introduce competition to a market that lacked competition. That we get input from those to finalize the specification, the capabilities of the airplane, the cargo loading system, the exact dimensions of the linings, and this and that,” said Scherer.

At Airbus’ third quarter earnings release today, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said “The decision to launch the A350F freighter is an available market decision. The freighter market is growing and we want to participate. With changed environmental rules from 2028, there is a large replacement market that we want to participate in from 2025.”

Airbus hasn’t had a lot of success with freighter aircraft. The end-of-life A300-600R became a dedicated freighter and some A310s were built with cargo doors. Airbus whiffed with the proposed A380F for technical reasons and a realization that loading from at the upper deck in a high wind wasn’t going to work well. The industrial delays also helped kill the A380F.

The new-build A330-200F also flopped. Only 38 were sold. Scherer, who participated in the decision to launch this aircraft, said Airbus should have used the larger A330-300 with its greater volumetric payload as the basis for a new production airplane. The aftermarket conversion has more than 100 slots reserved at EFW, a joint venture of Airbus. Most are for the -300. IAI Bedek recently launched its own A330ceo conversion program.

80 Comments on “Boeing and Airbus freighter battle

  1. The fact that ICAO rules will prevent Boeing from producing 777-200LRF and 767-300ERF beyond 2027 should be an even more compelling reason for Boeing to bring to market a new cargo plane than this robust market change for cargo. Trouble is that they will probably need one more cargo plane for the Boeing line, considering that 747-8F will not be around for much longer, given that its economics no longer work today. Passing from 3 options to just 1 will disappoint many buyers. They should concentrate on cargo Dreamliner next to fill the gap.

    • That’s totally right, the 777XF won’t even be a direct competitor to the A350F, which it will get bigger (Calhoun reported this in an interview this year, between -8 -9). Boeing’s interest will be to be able to offer a freighter at all after 2027, and thus also long-term replacement of the 747-400F/BCF.

      As far as the 787 is concerned, this is unfortunately not so easy to do because, unlike the A350, it does not have the structural integrity like the A350 to simply build a freighter. They would have to adapt the structure massively and would invest a lot, and have little commoniality with the Pax 787. Otherwise, one would already be under construction or in operation.

      • The 777-8 which is the supposed platform for the XF is said to be the same size as the existing 777-300ER so is a match for the A350-1000 ‘minus’ sized A350F.
        Who told you the 787 doesnt have structural integrity for a freighter type ? Boeing makes more money selling the 767F is more likely.
        The future may mean a 787-8 based freighter is in the works

        • Duke:

          That info on the 787 has surfaced before.

          I don’t begin to purport to be able to assess it, but that is the report.

          I agree its hard to believe Boeing would not have factored in a 787F in the future, but then this is the New and poorly functioning Boeing so anything short sighted is possible.

          The method of build is clearly different between an A350 and a 787.

          A350 is replacing aluminum frames with composites and a skin.

          Boeing is spun with much lighter and thinner circular elements to hold the shape, I believe more stress on the skin (its really thick) .

          At some point it may get more openly discussed by tech experts.

          Obviously they have a Pax floor and possibly you can beef up the support areas for a floor that can be heavier loaded. But stay tuned.

          • “Boeing is spun with much lighter and thinner circular elements to hold the shape, I believe more stress on the skin (its really thick) . ”

            All airframes carry stress in the fuselage skin.
            The spun barrels are “duhh, simple, obvious” but prodction(quality) wise a cul de sac.
            Guess why Boeing still gyrates around the same out of tolerance 787 issues they started with 15 years ago. “barrel sections don’t fit” .

            the barrels seem to be heavier than needed to carry the stresses and surface quality is abysmall.
            ( my spun gfrp oil tank has the same surface quality but i’d never get the idea of flying it 🙂

          • As far as I understand it, it’s a mistake to think of the 787 as a “spun” fuselage, the machine that builds it is more of a rotary placement machine. Also as far as I understand it, the skin thickness is determined more by things like impact resistance than structural need. I’m guessing that the difficulty is more likely to be with beefing up the floor and transferring the load.

        • Demand in freight (weight-volume equasion) seems to be sliding towards volume. If the 777-XF is based on 777-8 and the same size of the 777-300ER, it would leave it vulnerable to the 350F (assuming the A350F would be significantly lighter). 777-XF near the size of a 777-9 is probably the way to go to be competative.

          • The 777XF is going to be a between -8 and -9 Fuselage, to compensate for the advantage of the weight difference with payload/capacity. The CEO David Calhoun stated in an interview, summer this year, that they working on freighter between -8/9.

    • The 767 seems to continue fill market requirements. Using the various modifications for 767-400ERF, KC-46 and using GENX engines, Boeing should be able to create an attractive NG 767F IMO.

    • I think this is not correct. Passenger to Freight conversions, so called P2F, are not illegal under the ICAO rules from 1 Jan 2018 but new build aircraft are.

    • The FAA refused to give the 777X a TIA in May. It’s now almost November — has anyone heard that this matter has since been resolved?

      “…The FAA says it “considers that the aircraft is not yet ready for TIA, even if it is a phased TIA of limited scope with small number of Certification Flight Test Plans proposed. The technical data required for the type certification has not reached a point where it appears the aircraft type design is mature and can be expected to meet the applicable regulations.” Only the first phase of DAR has been completed, but phases 2 and 3 have yet to follow. Without this, the FAA has difficulty determining if the CCS is mature enough. The FAA adds that Boeing and the agency have been discussing TIA criteria for nine months and that DAR dates have continuously slipped.”

      https://airinsight.com/faa-is-unwilling-to-certify-the-boeing-777x/

  2. In many ways, a “cargo Dreamliner” would make more sense, because it would be based on an existing, flying airframe rather than a paper airplane whose EIS keeps getting pushed back. It would also have a lower specific empty weight.

    • 787F is reported to be an extremely difficult conversion due to the build.

      Lots of built 767 to be converted and you could see a quick and dirty NEO.

      Boeing has a modern cockpit from the 787 in the KC-46 they can add in

      • Why is the 787F conversion so difficult?
        My guess is that this is due to the filament winding technology.
        You can not cut anywhere in the finished barrel. And designing a new barrel with vast cargo doors is obviously not cheap if it is possible.
        The A350 technology, is very conventional, using panels on a structure, adapting this technology to the vast cargo doors is probably a no brainer

        • Both Airbus and Boeing cut their barrels for doors, windows and hold cargo doors. I think they put etched grooves in the surface where cutouts are before autoclave curing
          Airbus of course builds long panel sections first before stitching them into a barrel section. Both later add internal circular frames, floors etc. Any cutout would have reinforcing added

          https://www.compositesworld.com/articles/the-first-composite-fuselage-section-for-the-first-composite-commercial-jet

          • “Both Airbus and Boeing cut their barrels for doors, windows and hold cargo doors.”

            The difference is: Even on the A350, Airbus builds its barrels essentially from panels bolted onto aframe and stringers. (The panels are bigger than on e.g. the A330, but the principle itself is basically the same.)
            By contrast, the 787 barrels are spun in one piece.

            The theory put forward is that with Airbus’ approach, the structural modifications required for a cargo door are much more local and easier to implement than with Boeing’s approach, because cutting such a large whole into the barrel will also change the load-bearing characteristics of the whole workpiece.
            I don’t think anybody really said it was impossible to do, at least for new-built freighters, but the hypothesis is that it’s much more expensive to do, potentially to the point of not being commercially viable.
            Now, time will tell if this is really the case, but if Boeing really *is* considering re-engineing the 767 to keep it alive purely as a freighter (rather than doing a 787 freighter and streamlining their product portfolio somewhat), I think that would lend credence to those hypotheses.

          • You have it the wrong sequence
            Airbus suppliers build their separate panels into long barrels before internal circular frame reinforcing is done. ( the stringers are co cured so attached to skin when in autoclave)
            The ring composite frames ( some are metal in high load areas) are made as half circles so you need the entire barrel stitched together before installing.

            At that point there is no real difference, apart from Airbus has different thickness for crown and belly panels and they have longitudinal joins.

            Airbus does make the rear most fuselage section, under the tail, on a mandrel as a full barrel.

            Interesting as the NASA funded composite technology demonstrator for a 777 type fuselage- which was done by Boeing- used separate panels but a bigger crown and a very small belly ‘keel’ section

          • Duke:

            To the best of my knowledge, that is completely wrong.

            A350 uses the standard frame and panel systgem per ANFROMME, it is a direct knock off of the alumina structure with composite materials being used. there are 9 large panels formed to put on the A350 (vs a log of smaller ones).

            While Boeing spins its fu8sealge sections, they are not structurally stand alone, there are smaller rings inside of it (and yes I have seen it). The spun fuselage is amazing thick (as it bears more structure load). The frames are miner structural, they are there to maintain the shape of the fuselage which is not self supporting, extremely strong but in that circular direction no.

            I don’t think its the cargo door at issue.

            I think its the thin framing on the sidewalls that are for a pax cabin vs a heavy cargo load.

            If that is correct then to do a heavier floor load they would have to beef up the entire circular frame pieces as well as the ledge support for heavier floor.

        • “Why is the 787F conversion so difficult?”

          I read somewhere that it is technically difficult to build such a huge element like a cargo door, made mostly of metal, into a carbon structure. Pressure, temperature, movement etc.

          • Well, the world is full of bright engineers who just love to tackle problems like this — especially when it can lead to attractive commercial prospects. I wouldn’t be surprised if firms like EFW have already started to file patent applications on the subject…after all, there’s a potential fortune to be made with 787 P2Fs.

          • why would you build it out of metal in that case?

            no reason for it not to be made of composites (and in fact, when you are spinning the tube you are also making the door, it is just a cutout)

          • The A350 and B787 are the same structural fuselage construction. One created a full barrel from a mandrel the other creates each fuselage section from 4 longitudinal panels which are then stitched together logitudinally to create ….a think skin barrel
            From then on they both add closely spaced internal ring frames in composite ( except high stress areas around wing box) and other reinforcement around doors and belly openings.
            “Airbus opted for large fuselage panels, instead of unitized complete fuselage barrel sections, because they can be tailored in terms of their laminate sequence and thickness according to the different loads borne by each part of the airframe.”
            The floor beams for passengers and also floor beams for cargo hold are also added. That what the cargo pallets rest on too, not the skin. Boeing just has to substitute some floor beams with metal like Airbus already does.
            https://www.compositesworld.com/articles/a350-xwb-update-smart-manufacturing

          • A.Tabiadon:

            That is a very good visual. 787 a Uni-body and an A350 a frame on ladder ala an older vehicle or truck/off road types these days

          • B787 still has the closely spaced internal ring frames and horizontal stringers as does the A350.
            Both planes use the same structural design approach. Only the method of doing the outer skins varies – which both use co cured stringers attached to the skins.
            Its universal for semi-monocoque design.
            The A350-1000 was an oppotunity to switch from all the composite ring frames for the same diameter section to be identical to having some tailored for that section by using a new technique of ‘braided fibre’
            https://www.compositesworld.com/articles/airbus-a350-update-braf-fpp

          • The keel beam you talk about is for the centre fuselage section (65ft 20m)where the wing box cut-out and landing gear bay requires a different fuselage construction and limits the extent of the circular ring frames that are present fore and aft.

            Boeing barrel composite skins come off the mandrel without ring frames yet and the barrels are transported with circular jigs fore and aft to provide temporary strength and sit on movable trolleys. The internal ring frames are added at this stage, just as the same structures are added to the A350 panels stitched into barrels at that stage.
            https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/2013-06-18/alenia-aermacchi-ships-first-787-9-fuselage-section

          • From the article I linked:
            “Airbus’ keel beam is a 54-foot structure, 70 percent made of composites, that will form the backbone of each A350… Boeing’s 787 doesn’t depend on such a robust keel structure, because more of the hull strength comes from composite barrels that are fastened together end-to-end.
             The A350 fuselage, by contrast, will be built of large curved composite panels, mounted on a framework that is in turn anchored into the keel.”

      • A new build 787-9F would not be difficult at all I would argue. There is a barrel section ahead of the wing and behind the cockpit section. Boeing would need to design a new section with a larger cargo door for that section. They already have doors there for passengers and as escape doors. There are also 2 barrel sections plus the tail section which are also big enough for a cargo door if rear loading is preferred.

        A B787 P2F is a different matter however if Boeing develop a barrel section for a new Build B787-9F this section could be used on P2F conversions. Sections are bolted together. Recently a damaged Ethiopian B787 had the whole tail removed and replaced with a new one.

        A British airways B787 with a 10 ft section section of barrel damaged along the spine by heat from faulty antenna wiring wiring had the heat damaged section cut out and. Boeing will cut out the damaged areas and glue or, probably, bolt a large patch, made of overlapping panels of composite materials, onto the shiny new plane.

        I think the reason the B787 has not been seen yet as a B787-F is that it is too valuable as a long haul jet liner.

        .

        • William:

          I don’t know where you get your information. Ethiopian DID NOT replace the tail.

          What you list is a compile of the same aircraft, and it was Ethiopian that was fire damaged NOT a BA aircraft.

          While it was some time ago, they built a patch for the burned section.

          You don’t just happen to have spare 787 tails laying around regardless.

          You would have to steal one to get one and then it comes with an aircraft.

          • Ethiopian B787 had fire damage. The BA aircraft had a 10 ft section of the spine of one barrel damaged by an overheating emergency locator antenna cable heat damaging the spine. Boeing was very secretive about the repair techniques. Forbes said the tail of the Ethiopian B787 was replaced.

            Either way Boeing has ways of repairing large sections of damage and of removing and replacing entire barrel sections.

            That means it can retrofit a P2F cargo door in one barrel section.

            The reason there is no B787F is that the airframe is too valuable as an long haul airliner and that the B777F market is a niche market of efficient long haul fright where the bigger the aircraft the more efficient. You don’t need a B787F to carry iPhone chargers shipped to California to the rest of the USA.

  3. What will they call the new one? Currently there is the 777-F and the 767-300F. Perhaps the new one will be the 777-8F or 777-9F. Typically the x has been used to denote a proposed model, although this family seems to be the 777X family, following the 777W family.

  4. Airbus does not have any orders for the A350F yet.

    You can bet everyone is looking at the 777X-F and either looking for the best deal or continue with their common can structure and comfort with the existing 777F.

  5. Equally Airbus will no longer be able to sell a A330CEO freighter, even if they moved to a -300. They have the same maneuvering as Boeing but no orders for a CEO. Boeing still gets to offset costs with KC-46 and the KC-Y when they win that one.

    So they will be missing an aircraft in that class as well (new build)

    Like 767, lots of built A330 CEO to convert.

  6. The 777-X program probably can use that bit of extra demand the freighter version can add. So far the backlog is not that big.

    • The funny thing is the listed backlog is pretty good, but that assumes it is taken up. Keep in mind the nutty last years of the Widebody bubble are not the norm.

      777x-F if it sells a nice adjunct, not the big part of it as the 777F is now.

      777 should have been a rate 6-7 long term as should the 787. Rate 14 is just plane (yes sp intended) nuts. Ramp up, ramp down and where does that get you (well a lot of 787 sitting there getting shims)

      • TWA

        Last we heard, when they took the $6.5 billion charge, that under ASC 606 rules, the backlog for the 777X was 190. Accounting block was 350.

        I guess we’ll see

        • How many of the upcoming initial orders are new or conversion from B777X??

          • Frank:

            No disagreement, Airbus is launching the A350F with no orders (not the same I know for a whole aircraft vs a modified one)

            I of course am not a seer, not making any predictions as to where the market goes and if the 777X works is ???????????????

            Historically its a nice backlog no mater how its counted, does it hold up or fall flat on its face, shrug.

            I don’t think it was well thought out, more a knee jerk reaction that allowed Boeing to not come out with a new aircraft.

            Indicators prior were that the market really is 787/A350-900 with a strong lean to the 787 (the A330NEO is more its direct competitor but has not sold and who knows on that one)

  7. On the 767F and the ICAO emissions regulations – Calhoun was explicit at a previous earnings call that he wanted the US Government to give Boeing an exemption from the emissions regulations so they could continue to sell it post-2027:

    > And in the meantime, there are exemptions that exist within the ICAO language that have to be accommodated by our U.S. government in some way, shape or form, that allow for a transition strategy to that new kind of opportunity that is ICAO compliant.

    https://www.fool.com/earnings/call-transcripts/2021/07/28/boeing-ba-q2-2021-earnings-call-transcript/

    • The question is if the industry will see this as smart, or a sign Boeing doesn’t take environmental concerns seriously.

      • I don’t believe Boeing cares what the Industry thinks, can they do it and will cargo firms buy them?

        You can always pull out a greenish fig leaf from somewhere to how and why you really are green.

        • Banks are concerned. Would they provide financing?? Are you able to step up to fill the gap? 🙄

          • @Pedro

            You are right – look at disinvestment in the oil industry and elsewhere

            Airplanes have attracted the identity/cc crowds attention and are near the top of the nono list

          • Pedro:

            Dang if you don’t make a good point.

            I am not sure it applies to aviation but I am seeing more of that in areas not directly related to this blog so will not list them.

            Something to keep an eye on. T

    • I think the ongoing production of the B767F will become a political and environmental political & public outrage. I don’t think Boeing, FedEx or the USA need that kind of PR.

      • William:

        All nations are selective and spin things their way if possible.

        I don’t believe that condemning a 767 has any traction but will see.

        Hard to be outraged when you can still convert a pax to an F and be fully legal.

        Sometimes people think the nuances are important to the public and they are not.

  8. In the current era, who could really afford to buy a new freighter of this size? I doubt the orderbook will be bursting from the seams. On top of that, when would this aircraft be available for delivery to customers and how will the market look at that time.

    Its easy to jump on the bandwagon in the current environment when airline are looking to add freighter capacity but where are the economic benefits of buying either an A350F or a B777X-F? I don’t see any.

    If anything, I’d say the current parked converted freighter can fill the requirements now. A B747F has the added benefit of nose loading, neither of these new proposals have anything similar.

    I don’t see the market for widebody freighters growing between now and the next 10 years. I see narrow body conversions growing like crazy and the current A330 and B777 conversions are enough to satisfy current and mid term requirements.

    It looks more like both manufacturers are playing games with the markets that more aimed at its competitor than airline customers.

    • DHR:

      Mostly I agree with you though it should be kept in mind that Boeing is selling new 777F as well as new 767F.

      As there are no more 747F (ones being built are sold and that is the end) then there are no more front loaders. That probably is not an issue for UPS (they have 2 x 747BCF in their fleet and of course no other nose loaders)

      Qatar is rare in it wants new aircraft, Lufthansa tends to as well but they have operated MD-11 conversions and 747 conversions. Now its an all 777F fleet.

      The jump into a lot of cargo conversions could be nipped in the bud if Covid is brought under control and widebody Pax flights resume in number.

  9. The first 787 was delivered in 2011.
    One year prior to the ICAO rules kicking in in 2028, this Dreamliner — and many others — will be 16 years old, and will thus be potential feedstock for P2F conversions (the current average age of feedstock for P2F conversions is 18 years).
    There’s still 6 years for companies like EFW to figure out how to put 2 cargo doors into a 787 fuselage. If that endeavor succeeds, then freight carriers will be able to avail of ICAO-compliant freighters at relatively low cost.

    • That has been discussed earlier. Appearently a 3rdparty conversion is unlikely since the loads on that composite barrel structure are a much more complex problem than just replacing aluminium panels. Hard to do without accesto the data from the construction programm and stress tests.

  10. @Scott

    Off topic but how are the book sales coming along? Have you been happy with the response so far?

    I really enjoyed it. You ought to consider a follow up on the world’s real greatest airplane salesman . . . Steve Hazy of course. Leahy is great too. But there is only one Michael Jordan.

    • @Old: Doing well–though it could always do better! 🙂 Thanks for asking.

  11. A little bit more stability, agreement with authorities and Emirates on the ongoing 777s certification insights and aircraft modification would be welcome before launching a derivative, it seems.

  12. I have heard two stories. One is that the A350f is slightly longer than the A359 or that the A350f is slightly shorter than the A350k. Boeing needs to get their act together on this one. Will it be based on the B777-8 or -9. Air freight companies are beginning to convert the B777-300 to B777ECRF.

    • Perhaps nobody at either Airbus or Boeing have decided. They’re still optimising the design based on discussions with customers and their perception of needs. Obviously close to a final design.

    • @Pedro

      Thanks for this reminder of the important facts about Boeing

      Not only has Boeing’s reputation not recovered the full story of what happened the why and how has not been published, nor resolution obtained either in Law or in deed

      Boeing continues to lie and to cover up and to deny the truth

      Makes freighter conversion launches, perhaps this plane or perhaps that, seem like trivial tittle tattle

    • Regarding the MAX, Wikipedia has interesting order tallies, particularly for 2021:

      “As of September 2021, there were 575 orders, but 516 cancellations of 737 MAX.”
      That leaves a net order figure of just 59 units for 2021 — meaning that the bonanza of headliner orders earlier this year from Southwest, Alaska, United and Ryanair has now almost totally been negated. At this rate, 2021 is shaping up to equal or exceed the 641 MAX cancellations in 2020.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Boeing_737_MAX_orders_and_deliveries

    • And relating to the MAX crashes:
      “Former 737 Max technical pilot’s trial delayed until 15 December”

      “Judge Reed O’Connor of US District Court of the Northern District of Texas agreed to the delay for the purpose of giving Forkner’s legal team more time to prepare, according to an order filed on 26 October.

      The trial had previously been scheduled to start on 15 November.

      The delay is significantly less time than requested by Forkner’s attorneys. In a 22 October filing, Forkner’s defence team told judge O’Connor they needed at least one year to review 67 million pages of documents relevant to the case.

      Those pages were part of electric files supplied to the defence attorneys by the US Department of Justice (DOJ).”

      https://africapearl.com/2021/10/29/former-737-max-technical-pilots-trial-delayed-until-15-december-news.html

      *** 67 million pages of documents !!! ***

  13. More on the drop in Chinese aviation demand:
    “China’s top airlines post wider losses on COVID-19 resurgence”

    “BEIJING/SYDNEY, Oct 29 (Reuters) – China’s three biggest airlines on Friday posted wider third-quarter losses than in the previous quarter as a resurgence of local COVID-19 cases drove a sharp decline in domestic travel and international borders remained closed.”

    https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/chinas-top-airlines-post-wider-losses-covid-19-resurgence-2021-10-29/

    • Reuters reports MAX re-certification in China can slipped to next year. Calhoun missed/misled again?

    • With a CMV of $50M, there’s plenty of incentive to cancel late 787 orders (without penalty) and look for a better bargain.
      Longhaul traffic volumes are still a long way from normalization to pre-pandemic levels. Yes, it’s true that transatlantic flights are nicely filled for the coming weeks (since the US will be admitting vaccinated EU travelers from Nov. 8), but analysts on CNBC were asking last week if that is just an initial glut of postponed family reunions. Longhaul to/from Asia is currently a dead duck. Australia will very gradually re-open its borders starting in December, but flights for the first few months will be limited to non-tourism purposes; incidentally, December flights from Aus to UK on Qantas are outrageously overpriced.

      • The CMV of $50m is for a 2010 build 787-8. Don’t extrapolate this to a 2021 built 787-8.

        • Absolutely!
          However, there are many airlines that are currently in a much worse state than they were when they ordered new 787s years ago. For (some of) them, it may be a very attractive option to abandon (without penalty) the idea of taking a new airframe and instead take a nice secondhand one at an attractive price — particularly if they concurrently switch from purchase to lease. Mind you, in such an instance they may have to sue BA to get their downpayments back (à la LOT, Norwegian).

          • We’ll write about this Tuesday in an HOTR post.

  14. I’m not sure A&B are betting on the wrong horse here.

    They talk about “robust demand”.
    I don’t see that.

    The actual demand is driven by the simple fact, that due to the pandemic plenty of WBs with belly cargo capacity are not flying. This is basically all routes to Asia, as most countries are still closed, and even US – EU routes are served on way lower frequencies as pre Covid.

    After winter, mid 2022, Covid will be over worldwide and all the A330, A350, B787 and B777 will be in the air again – with all it’s cargo cappacity.
    And those who won’t, mainly B777s and A330s, will be ideal for freigther conversions.
    So where’s a robust demand for 2 new freighters coming 2025 on?

    Boeing will sell the s… out of the B767f and B777f till 2027.
    And the freigther market will be super cyclic.
    Demand will plumb in 2025-2030 just to the abbundance of freighters (exisiting B models) and conversions (A330 & B777) and belly freight cappacity with then back in service fleets.

    • Sash:

      I think you are spot on right, timing might be off a bit but a conversion take a while and they don’t happen in numbers.

      You are right, everyone is jumping into the F pool and there will be a surplus. Some like FedEx, UPS and Qatar (Emirates?) will take new aircraft, but when the F market drops like a rock, only the Package OPS will make money (they are a totally separate self fed market from the Heavy F ops)

      Its going to be a fit and stop erratic recovery as various areas get vaccinated and or upgraded vaccines to deal with the Delta variant are also rolled out (or in the boosters)

      Probably the US/EU will lead he way, not sure on Asia which would be the other big market. Asia needs an effective vaccine(s) not the Sinovac crud.

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