Singapore Airlines has signed a letter of intent with European aircraft manufacturer Airbus for seven A350F freighter aircraft. The fuel-efficient cargo-only version of the popular A350 aircraft cargo a similar amount of cargo as Boeing’s B747 freighter and will replace Singapore Airlines’ own fleet of 747F’s when they are delivered from the fourth quarter of 2025.
The letter of intent includes options for five more A350F’s but is offset with a swap agreement for 15 A320neos and two A250-900 passenger aircraft that Singapore Airlines had previously ordered.
Although the deal isn’t yet confirmed, if fully agreed Singapore Airlines will become the first operator of the A350F. The letter of intent is a big win for Airbus after Qatar Airways’ chief executive Akbar Al Baker rejected the A350F over a paint quality issue with its fleet of A350 passenger aircraft.
Qatar Airways had been incredibly keen on the A350F and pushed Airbus to develop the freighter version but tensions have been building between the two companies and Al Baker now claims the airline will likely rely on Boeing’s freighter aircraft.
As an A350 passenger aircraft operator itself, Singapore Airlines has renewed its commitment to the aircraft with this latest deal and helped to assuage quality issues fears with the A350.
“We are honoured by Singapore Airlines’ vote of confidence in the A350F as it renews its freighter fleet,” commented Christian Scherer, the chief commercial officer for Airbus.
“It is gratifying that Singapore Airlines recognises the value of the A350F as we build on the strong partnership we already enjoy,” Scherer continued.
In comparison to the B747, the A350F will burn up to 40 per cent less fuel and offer a longer range and cheaper operating costs. Based on Singapore Airlines’ current operations, the carrier believes the A350F will reduce carbon emissions by 400,000 tonnes.
Although Singapore Airlines plans to be the first operator of the A350F, two other companies have already signed deal with Airbus for the aircraft.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.