When Airbus unveiled the A350F, branding it as the next generation freighter, it put sustainability front and centre, announcing that it will demonstrate “unbeatable fuel efficiency,” with a 40% lower fuel burn and CO2 emissions than its competitor.
This was a point that Crawford Hamilton, the Head of Freighter Marketing at Airbus, was keen to stress during an interview with Air Cargo Week at Farnborough International Airshow.
“What we hear from everyone is that they all have environmental control systems strategies. They all have goals that they have to meet. And what easier way is there than replacing an old 747 with something that burns 40% less fuel. That is the easiest way to get sustainability,” Hamilton said.
Adopting a more sustainable aircraft for cargo transport doesn’t just help companies in their mission to cut their carbon footprint, it has the added benefit of cutting costs by reducing fuel consumption.
Between the start of 2022 and July, the price of jet fuel rose approximately 90 percent, costing around 120 percent more than it did a year earlier. So, with fuel prices having soared international instability in recent months, this is something that isn’t going unnoticed.
“There’s two parts of sustainability: the environmental sustainability and the business sustainability,” Hamilton highlighted. “If you’re suddenly taking 40% out of your fuel costs, your business starts to look good as well.” “There are sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) goals now and it does cost more than normal fuel. There’s also potential carbon taxes. Anything that burns less fuel is good…When you start to look at how much fuel is burnt over the lifetime of an aircraft, you can save vast amounts of money, while also lowering your environmental footprint.”
These were all factors that were considered in the development of the A350F, creating an aircraft that is 35 tonnes lighter in its operating weight than a 747 and with two fewer engines.
“You put all these things together, it mounts up. You put in the fact that we’ve got advanced aerodynamics and the most advanced engine that is in service today, You come up with a good package that’s really economic,” Hamilton outlined.
With sustainability elements providing “outstanding savings,” the A350F achieves “unbeatable economics,” according to Airbus, through its increased payload, higher volume and greater range compared with its competitor. Airbus estimates that the aircraft’s features will add up to $21 million extra revenue and result in lower maintenance costs totalling $16 million.
The interest in the core selling points of the A350F is shown in the steady stream of demand for the aircraft since its unveiling. As of August, Airbus has recorded 31 orders for the A350F, including 4 aircraft from CMA-CGM, 7 aircraft from Air Lease Corporation, 7 aircraft from Singapore Airlines, 4 from Air France, 2 from Silk Way West Airlines and 7 from Etihad