Boeing To Unveil New Freighter At Next Month's Dubai Airshow

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Oct 06, 2021 - 03:40 PM

Boeing Co. is set to officially debut a new air freighter version of its long-range, wide-body, twin-engine 777X at the 2021 Dubai Airshow next month, according to Bloomberg

Boeing's first new jet in almost half a decade comes as the air freight industry has flourished during COVID while business and vacation travel have slumped. The company is in advanced to sell new planes to Qatar and has spoken with FedEx Corp., Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Singapore Airlines Ltd., and Deutsche Post AG's DHL unit.      

People familiar with the debut said details of the new freighter had been known but what's new is the planned unveiling of the plane next month (between Nov. 14-18) at the Dubai Airshow. 

The move to unveil a freighter variant of the new plane before a passenger version speaks volumes to the aviation environment and how COVID has turned the entire industry upside down. Depressed travel continues 18 months since the pandemic began. BloombergNEF reported 31,000 flight schedules worldwide had been scrapped by airlines as travel demand is expected to deteriorate into year-end. 

Current conditions make sense why Boeing would release the freighter version first, then possibly the passenger version once travel volumes recover some more.

Qatar Airways, the world's largest operator of the 777 freighters, could strike a deal with Boeing that would convert some of its 60 777X passenger jets on order to the cargo version.

Boeing jetliners account for 90% of global air cargo capacity. The Seattle-based company also wants to take on Airbus as logistical chaos by sea has left supply chains severely damaged. 

Tom Crabtree, a regional director of air cargo for Boeing, said the 777X freighter would set the "benchmark" for maximizing the cargo volume on wide-body planes. 

Airbus hopes to launch an A350 freighter by 2025 that will offer a similar capacity to Boeing's. However, A350 freighter, "in terms of cross-section, it's only on par with the MD-11," said Crabtree, referring to a freighter from the former McDonnell Douglas that was last delivered decades ago."We have a bigger cross-section," he said, adding to the appeal of the plane. 

Boeing and Airbus are locked in an air freight battle to capitalize off the pandemic as it rewrites not just air travel but how goods are shipped worldwide.