Dubai: Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways has signed a letter of intent for seven A350F freighters to add to its existing fleet of five A350-1000 passenger versions. Etihad has also selected Airbus’s Flight Hour Services (FHS) to support its entire A350 fleet.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Etihad is delighted to extend our relationship with Airbus to include this remarkable aircraft as part of our freighter fleet for the future,” said Tony Douglas, Group CEO, Etihad Aviation Group. “As our cargo operations continue to over perform and we work towards a more sustainable future built upon the world’s youngest and most fuel-efficient fleet:
With a 109 tonne payload capability, the A350F can serve all cargo markets. More than 70 per cent of the airframe of the A350F is made of advanced materials, resulting in a 30 tonne lighter take-off weight and generating at least 20 per cent lower fuel consumption and emissions over its current closest competitor.
“We are pleased to sign this agreement with our long standing partner Etihad, shortly before this most discerning airline also introduces A350 passenger service,” said Christian Scherer, Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International, Airbus.
Last year in November, Etihad told Gulf News that it was evaluating several options to boost its freighter fleet as demand continues to soar.
Martin Drew, Etihad’s Senior Vice President of Sales & Cargo, said several of the carrier’s Boeing 777-300 aircraft were “good candidates” for conversion to cargo. “We’re also evaluating the Airbus A350 freighter, which will be launched in 2025, as well as the Boeing 777x freighter as well”