Singapore Airlines has signed a memorandum of intent with Airbus for the purchase of seven A350F freighter aircraft.
When delivered in the fourth quarter of 2025, Singapore Airlines’ own fleet of 747Fs will be replaced by the fuel-efficient cargo-only variant of the popular A350 aircraft, which carries a similar amount of cargo as Boeing’s B747 freighter.
The letter of intent contains options for five further A350Fs, although it is countered by a swap arrangement for 15 A320neos and two A250-900 passenger planes that Singapore Airlines had previously ordered.
Although the transaction hasn’t been finalized, if all goes as planned, Singapore Airlines will be the first airline to fly the A350F. After Qatar Airways’ chief executive Akbar Al Baker rejected the A350F due to a paint quality issue with its fleet of A350 passenger planes, the letter of intent is a huge gain for Airbus.
Qatar Airways had urged Airbus to produce a freighter version of the A350F, but tensions between the two firms have grown, and Al Baker now reports the airline will likely rely on Boeing’s freighter aircraft.
With this newest transaction, Singapore Airlines, as an A350 passenger aircraft operator, has reaffirmed its commitment to the aircraft and helped to allay concerns about quality difficulties 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 use up to 40% less fuel, have a longer range, and cost less to operate. Based on existing operations, Singapore Airlines estimates that the A350F will reduce carbon emissions by 400,000 tonnes.
Despite Singapore Airlines’ intention to be the first operator of the A350F, two other airlines have already signed agreements with Airbus.