Airbus is pushing A350F Concept to airlines

Airbus is approaching a number of airlines in the US and Europe about the possibility of an A350F, as a booming cargo market and a lack of new large freighter options (in essence almost entirely restricted to the 777F), makes the possibility of an A350-900 freighter more viable.

The problem as always, is the fickle nature of cargo and its rapid cycles of ups and downs in and out of profitability.

Airbus currently hasn’t got a single order for the A332F, with Turkish MNG Cargo having cancelled its two-aircraft order in February.

There are quite a few technical issues too, such as how to put a large cargo door in the composite body, something that hasn’t yet been done.

Qatar recently ditched its remaining A332F’s having taken delivery of 777F’s, although they’re now being operated by an AirBelgium subsidiary.

The question is can Airbus deliver on the A350F quickly enough to make it viable if anyone ordered it, and what advantages does it have over the tried and tested Boeing 777F? If it doesn’t have real and convincing cost benefits to airlines, they’re not going to want to know. It would need to be cheaper (unlikely), it would need to carry as much if not more (also unlikely it would offer any significant gain), and it would have to be far more economical to operate – and that’s where it might actually win out. The 777F is old and so are its engines.