European planemaker Airbus secured a provisional debut order for seven A350 freighter jets from US leasing company Air Lease Corporation (ALC) on Monday, November 15, stepping up efforts to challenge Boeing for a bigger slice of the booming cargo market.
The expansion of e-commerce has accelerated since the global pandemic, while upcoming international rules on plane emissions are putting pressure on freight operators to modernize fleets.
“It is very clear that…e-commerce is a very stabilizing factor in the freighter market place and a growing factor,” said ALC chief executive John Plueger.
A letter of intent for the freighters signed at the Dubai Airshow on Monday also included more than 100 passenger jets: 25 A220-300s, 55 A321neos, 20 A321XLRs, and four wide-body A330neos.
Industry sources said the coveted endorsement from one of the powerhouse lessors that drive the $150-billion jet market may have included sweeteners such as some conversions between models and attractive delivery slots for the in-demand A321XLR.
“We are supremely confident with this order, and that we will have more orders in the future,” Plueger said.
The order will be finalized in coming months, Airbus said, without giving a value for the deal.
Airbus and ALC also said they would launch a multimillion-dollar ESG (environmental, social, and governance) fund initiative that would contribute towards investment into sustainable aviation development projects.
Boeing, which dominates the market for cargo planes, is expected to launch a competing freighter version of its 777X wide-body passenger plane within weeks. It said on Sunday, November 14, it was in advanced talks with potential customers. – Rappler.com