German national flag carrier Lufthansa is reportedly talking to Boeing about buying a cargo version of its new 777X airliner to compete with the Airbus A350 cargo plane. After debuting the massive twin-engine jet at last week’s Dubai Air Show, Boeing flew its test 777X to Frankfurt Airport (FRA) in Germany.
While in Europe, Lufthansa Chief Executive Carsten Spohr had a chance to see the plane for himself and when speaking about it is quoted by newswire service Reuters as saying:
“We have been negotiating about this morning, but there is much more negotiation to be done.”
Airlines are preparing for an increase in air freight
The German CEO’s comments came amid speculation that there would be a massive increase in cargo volume to meet demand following the COVID-19 pandemic.
So far, the Seattle planemaker has not presented a cargo version of the 777X but is already talking to customers like Qatar Airways about the possibility. Qatar Airways already has 60 777X passenger jets on order with Boeing. It is quite possible that a portion of that order could get converted into freighters.
Both Boeing and Europe’s Airbus need to develop new cargo aircraft to comply with future CO2 emission regulations from the International Civil Aviation Organization (Icao).
Airbus first presented a freighter version of its A350 passenger jet during the summer and confirmed that the Aircraft Leasing Company (ALC) had become the plane’s first customer at the Dubai Air Show. Following the announcement, Airbus later confirmed that shipping and logistics company CMA CGM Group had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to purchase four Airbus A350 freighters. Boeing, for its part, announced no deals for a freighter version of the 777X.
The 777X freighter is an obvious choice for Boeing
When speaking back in July about the possibility of a Boeing 777X freighter Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun said that You have to keep an eye on your resources and focus initially on the certification of the 777-9, 737 MAX 7, and Max 10. However, he added that the American planemaker cannot avoid a new freighter and that the 777X is the logical choice.
For its part, Boeing wants to make a freighter version of the 777X, a plane that Lufthansa intends to buy and is something that the Lufthansa boss appreciated saying:
“Of course, the cargo variant of the 777X is interesting and is something we negotiated that this morning.”
Spohr, while not talking up the plane too much, also spoke about the Airbus A350 freighter, saying:
“We also explicitly welcome the fact that Airbus is bringing a suitably competitive aircraft onto the market.”
Lufthansa already has nine Boeing 777 freighters
Looking at Lufthansa’s current fleet of freighter aircraft, aviation statistics and data website ch-aviation lists the airline as having an all-Boeing fleet of nine 777F cargo planes. With that in mind, perhaps a 777X would suit Lufthansa Cargo better than the Airbus A350F.
What do you think about Lufthansa ordering a cargo version of the Boeing 777X? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments.