Workers load a shipment of cargo onto a flight.

Air cargo was one of the big winners from the Dubai Airshow thanks to the shipping crisis.
Airbus and Boeing landed orders for cargo jets, both new and converted, to meet rising demand.
Boeing held off on launching the 777X Freighter while Airbus launched its A350 Freighter. 

International airshows are typically a time for airlines to show off their latest and greatest innovations that seek to improve the flying experience for travelers. But this year’s Dubai Airshow saw big wins not just for passengers but also packages. 

Air cargo has been riding high for most of the pandemic and its importance has only been strengthened by the current shipping crisis. Companies that may have relied on ocean shipping in the past and now loosening the purse strings and paying up to send their items in the shipping equivalent of first class. 

And the conversation among the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers including Airbus and Boeing is shifting to include cargo aircraft, for which there was no shortage of orders in Dubai. 

Boeing kicked off the air show with orders for its Boeing Converted Freighters, including nine 767-300BCFs for DHL Express and 11 737-800BCFs for leasing company Icelease. Three new conversion lines in the UK and Canada announced at Dubai will also increase Boeing’s capacity to transform the aircraft from airliners to freighters, a process that can take months depending on the size of the aircraft. 

A DHL Express Boeing 767-300F.

Airbus then launched the Airbus A350 Freighter project with a seven-aircraft order from Air Lease Corporation, marking the first next-generation Airbus aircraft to enter the cargo realm. The A350 Freighter, slated to arrive around 2026, boasts a 109-tonnes payload capacity with reduced fuel burn and emissions. 

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Boeing, however, held off on launching the freighter variant of its upcoming 777X aircraft, which will soon become the largest certified twin-engine passenger plane in the world and was on hand in Dubai.

Mike Fleming, senior vice president in charge of commercial customer support and commercial derivative programs, cited the backlog that Boeing is experiencing with three commercial aircraft currently working towards certification. 

“Now, if all we had to do all fall, that was going on in our world was the freighter, we could get it done,” Fleming told reporters in Dubai of the 777X Freighter. Boeing’s 777-900, 737 Max 7, and 737 Max 10 aircraft have yet to be certified and the 777X project has already been delayed past its initial projections. 

The Boeing 777X at Dubai Airshow 2021.

Fleming didn’t give an estimate on how long a 777X Freighter project would take but also did not foresee any potential challenges with the project. Boeing has introduced freighter variants of nearly every jet aircraft in its staple, including the 727, 737, 747, 757, and 767 aircraft flying today. 

“We’ve developed a lot of freighters, that’s something we do with almost all of our airplane models, Fleming said. “There’s always a freighter in the plan …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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