There will be a market for freighters, but the question is how many because of the challenge of ever more fuel efficient bellyhold aircraft, according to a panel of airline executives.
Speaking at the International Air Transport Association’s 9th World Cargo Symposium on Tuesday 9 March, executives from Cathay Pacific, Swiss International Air Lines and Atlas Air, broadly agreed on the key issue; always opt for the most fuel efficient aircraft.
Those are the Boeing 777, the Boeing 787, Airbus A350 and Airbus A330. Even with the lower fuel price, fuel efficiency was sseen as the priority in aircraft procurement. This is because the price could return to its relatively recent highs of $100 per barrel and more.
Atlas Air’s chief commercial officer, Michael Steen, says: “You have to have the new technology.” The panel confirmed there is a need for freighters on some routes had been undermined by the belly capacity of the likes of the Boeing 777.
Cathay’s cargo sales and marketing general manager, James Woodrow, adds, “We have seen a tsunami of belly capacity.” One example is Cathay’s decision to replace freighters with the Boeing 777 bellyhold aircraft flying Hong Kong to London five times a day.”