Aircraft leasing company ALC has placed the second large Airbus order of the 2021 Dubai Airshow. In doing so, it became the first customer to order the hotly anticipated Airbus A350 Freighter. The planemaker first revealed that the aircraft was on the cards during the summer.
To date, Airbus hasn’t been a significant player in the air cargo market. While aircraft are being converted to freighters, the A330 is the only aircraft that thus far has been delivered as a freighter brand new. The proposed A380 freighter never took off, but now the planemaker is turning its eyes to its A350 family.
A second huge Airbus order
The Airbus A350 freighter news is enormous, but it comes as part of a larger order from ALC for 111 new aircraft. The order was placed on the second day of the airshow and comes after Indigo Partners ordered 255 aircraft from the A320 family.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.
ALC has now gone one step further. While it hasn’t ordered quite so many aircraft, the aircraft lessor has ordered jets from every single Airbus family as follows,
- 25x Airbus A220-300
- 55x Airbus A321neo
- 20x Airbus A321XLR
- 4x Airbus A330neo
- 7x Airbus A350F
The order is yet to be finalized, and this stage is a letter of intent. However, once the order is signed, ALC will become one of Airbus’s largest customers and have the biggest single order book for the Airbus A220. Commenting on the news, the lessor’s Executive Chairman, Steven Udvar-Hazy, said,
“ALC was the launch customer for the very popular A321LR and XLR versions. Now, we become the launch lessor for the A350F and by far the largest lessor customer for the A220. We had the vision to be first adopters of the A321 and are convinced we have made the right choice again on the A220 and A350F, responding to what we see the market will need in the period of recovery ahead.”
An Airbus A350F?
Airbus launched the A350 freighter in late July during its second half results presentation. Commenting on the type today, the manufacturer revealed that the first deliveries of the kind will start in 2026, around five years from now. This will give Airbus suitable time to iron out the final details and test fly the modified A350 before delivery.
It raises the question of whether we’ll see other A350 freighter orders during the airshow. Airbus launched the A321XLR at the 2019 Paris Airshow, leading to a flurry of orders. We already know that other operators are interested in the A350 freighter. In September, Chief Commercial Officer Christian Scherer revealed that the jet was seeing strong interest. Today, he announced that the forecast is for demand for 900 aircraft.
We already know that Qatar Airways is interested in the Airbus A350 freighter. CEO Akbar Al Baker previously commented that he wanted to be first in line for the aircraft, though recently relations with the planemaker have hit a rough patch as 19 of its passenger A350s remain grounded.
What do you make of the Airbus A350F launch? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!