Singapore Airlines has signed a letter of intent to acquire seven of the Airbus A350F launched earlier this year. The aircraft would be used to replace the airline’s aging Boeing 747-400Fs, with deliveries set to start in late 2025. The airline becomes the third company to declare a firm interest in the aircraft type. With 56 Airbus A350s in its fleet already, Singapore Airlines has the largest Airbus A350 fleet today.
Historically, Airbus has been lacking behind being when it comes to freighter aircraft. While the A330-200F was marketed as a new airframe freighter, only around 40 have been built. The airline’s planned A380 freighter never materialized. Now Airbus is going full steam ahead with a new A350 freighter, and airlines are beginning to show interest.
Singapore Airlines’ letter of intent
As mentioned, the agreement signed by Singapore Airlines at this point in time is purely a letter of intent. This means that no firm order for the aircraft type has been placed, and the airline would be able to back out with little to no penalty.
According to Airbus, it seems as though the aircraft would be used as a replacement for the airline’s entire cargo fleet. Today Singapore Airlines’ cargo division operates seven Boeing 747-400 freighters aged between 15.88 and 21.27 years according to data from ch-aviation.com. By the time Singapore Airlines would take its first aircraft in Q4 2025, this would have risen to 25.27 years for the oldest Boeing 747-400F.
What do we know about the Airbus A350 Freighter?
So what do we know about the Airbus A350 freighter? Since Airbus revealed that the type had been given the go-ahead earlier this year, public details about the aircraft and its capabilities have been few and far between.
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Airbus has revealed that the aircraft will have a high level of commonality with the passenger version of the A350. For Singapore Airlines this means that the same pilots could likely be able to fly all four variants of the jet.
As far as its cargo capabilities go, the Airbus A350F will be able to carry 109 tonnes of payload, allowing the jet to serve all cargo markets. Cargo will be loaded on the main deck via a large cargo door, as is standard on many cargo aircraft. Meanwhile, Airbus confirmed that the aircraft is being designed to stake standard-sized containers and pallets already in circulation around the industry.
Singapore Airlines is the third company to publically show interest in the Airbus A350 freighter. Leasing company ALC got the ball rolling with the type, placing its first order (another LOI) at last month’s Dubai Air Show. This order was also for seven of the jets. Just days later, the CMA CGM group placed a memorandum of understanding for four more of the aircraft. It is also thought that Cargolux could be interested in the type after one of the A350 demonstrators was spotted flying with the airline’s callsign earlier this year.
What do you make of Singapore Airlines’ interest in the Airbus A350 freighter? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!