Freighter orders and deliveries are still scant

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Airbus did not sell one of its Airbus A330-200 Freighter products in 2014, but delivered one aircraft, while Boeing delivered 27 of its freighters, but sold few. 

Until this month, when Silk Way West Airlines announced orders for three Boeing 747-8 Freighters, the US aircraft maker had not sold any 747-8F for more than a year, only gaining an order confirmation from Cargolux International Airlines in 2014. The one delivery of an Airbus freighter was an A330-200F to Synergy Aerospace. 

Boeing’s 27 freighters were divided between, 13 Boeing 777 Freighter, five Boeing 767-300 Freighter and nine 747-8F. Both manufacturers have boasted of orders and deliveries for all product types. Airbus says it delivered 629 aircraft, and Boeing says it supplied more at 723. The market picture is one of substantial bellyhold capacity being added – effectively cannabilising the freighter market.

The scale of the passenger orders can be seen with last week’s announcement by China Aircraft Leasing Company (CALC) that it has confirmed its December 2014 order for 100 Airbus A320 Family aircraft. The order comprises 74 A320 new engine option (neo), 16 A320 current engine option (ceo) and 10 Airbus A321ceo. Including this order, CALC’s total backlog with Airbus stands at 140 A320 Family aircraft. These aircraft could be leased to airlines that use the type for bellyhold cargo services. Examples of airlines using the A320, and Boeing 737, for bellyhold cargo are flydubai and Gulf Air. 

On 13 January, Airbus launched the A321neo version that has a 97 tonnes Maximum Take Off Weight and an increased range of 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 kilometres) with a commitment from Air Lease Corporation. 

Last week, Airbus also announced the first of its lighter weight, 242 tonne, Airbus A330 had made its maiden flight, flying for 3h 30 minutes. It will enter service with Delta Air Lines in 2015. Despite the European company announcing, in 2014, the lighter A330 and the Airbus A330-800neo and Airbus A330-900neo, there is no new freighter. The only product is the -200Fceo. Announcing the A330neo variants on 14 July, Airbus’ chief operating officer for customers, John Leahy, told Air Cargo Week that there is no plan for an A330-200Fneo. 

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