New Airbus A350F Customer: CMA CGM Signs MoU

Airbus obtained its second order for the A350 Freighter. The CMA CGM Group, a company focused on shipping and logistics, signed a binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus to purchase four A350F freighter aircraft.

New Airbus A350F Customer: CMA CGM Signs MoU
CMA CGM Cargo ordered four Airbus A350F. Photo: Airbus.

The A350F is picking up

Earlier this week, during the second day of the Dubai Airshow, Airbus signed the first official deal for the A350F. Air Lease Corporation filed an order for 111 aircraft, including seven A350F, among others like 25 A220-300, 55 A321neo, 20 A321XLR, and four A330neo. Airbus left Dubai Airshow with 408 aircraft orders.

On Friday, Airbus announced the second deal for the A350F. Christian Scherer, Airbus’ Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International said,

“We are proud to welcome CMA CGM AIR CARGO in the group of operators for the A350F, and we are equally pleased to support the company’s future strategic development.”

Once CFM CGM receives the four A350F, the cargo carrier would have a total Airbus fleet of nine aircraft, including five A330-200F.

Scherer added that the A350F would fit seamlessly into the carrier’s existing fleet of Airbus freighters.

New Airbus A350F Customer: CMA CGM Signs MoU
Airbus is launching the A350F based on the widebody A350 family. Photo: Getty Images.

What can we expect of the A350F?

We’re still a few years ago before Airbus officially delivers its first A350F unit. Entry into service is scheduled to happen in 2025. The new freighter aircraft is based on the world’s most modern long-range, the A350.

The A350F will feature a large main deck cargo and a fuselage length optimized for cargo operations, said Airbus. Additionally, Airbus is looking to challenge Boeing’s domination in the cargo market. The A350F could offer an 11% larger freight volume compared to the 777F.

Airbus has long been absent from the air cargo market, but that is set to change with the A350F. Prior to Air Lease Corporation and CMA CGM orders, Airbus had not been able to sell a freighter since 2015.

“The A350F serves all cargo markets (Express, general cargo, special cargo…) and is in the large freighter category the only new generation freighter aircraft ready for the enhanced 2027 ICAO CO₂ emissions standards”, said Airbus.

Airbus, ALC, A350 Freighter
ALC became the first customer to order the hotly anticipated A350 freighter at the 2021 Dubai Airshow. Photo: Airbus

Who else could order the A350F?

Whenever a new aircraft is announced, there’s a lot of uncertainty regarding which airlines could be interested in acquiring it.

Qatar Airways is one of the most keen airlines. During a Simple Flying Future Flying webinar in May, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said,

“Definitely, we will be at the front of the queue. We will be soon replacing our current fleet of freighters, and we would want to replace it with the best freighter that is available. We would be very happy to be the launch customer of the new variant….”

The Luxembourgian cargo carrier Cargolux could also be interested in the A350F. According to local media, a delegation from the airline visited Airbus headquarters a few months ago.

Obviously, the current A350 commercial operators could be interested in having the same aircraft to serve their freighter markets. The likes of Cathay Pacific, Ethiopian Airlines, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, and Singapore Airlines could be potential clients in the future.

What airlines do you believe could end up buying the A350F? Let us know in the comments below.