Singapore Airlines Commits to Airbus A350 Freighter

 - December 15, 2021, 8:14 AM
Singapore Airlines expects to take delivery of its first Airbus A350F by the end of 2025. (Image: Airbus)

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has signed a letter of intent with Airbus to purchase at least seven A350F freighter aircraft, the companies said Wednesday. The contract, which includes options for another five aircraft, calls for deliveries to begin in the fourth quarter of 2025, when SIA will become the first airline to operate Airbus’s latest cargo offering. Airbus launched the program in July and took its first order during November’s Dubai Airshow, when Air Lease Corporation agreed to take seven. Since then, the airframer secured its second commitment for the A350F under the terms of a four-aircraft MOU from shipping and logistics company CMA CGM Group.

The agreement with SIA includes a swap with 15 A320neo and two A350-900 passenger aircraft in the SIA Group order book. “This allows SIA to manage its capital expenditure while continuing with the essential freighter renewal program,” said the airline in a statement.

Singapore Airlines plans to replace its Boeing 747-400Fs with the A350Fs, which can carry a similar volume of cargo. According to specifications cited by SIA, the A350F offer 728 cubic meters of cargo volume, compared with 738 for the 747-400F. Meanwhile, the Airbus jet’s maximum payload totals 109 tonnes, some seven tonnes less than that of the Boeing quadjet.

The new freighter burns up to 40 percent less fuel on similar missions while offering longer range, added SIA.

“Renewing the freighter fleet reflects SIA’s continued investment in the air cargo segment, which is a core business for the company,” said the airline. “SIA has bolstered its cargo capabilities over the last few years, especially in key segments such as e-commerce, fresh produce, and pharmaceuticals. Adding the A350Fs will reinforce SIA’s leading position in the sector while strengthening Singapore’s position as a global air cargo hub.”

The deal also supports the SIA Group’s commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, it said. Replacing the 747-400Fs with the A350Fs would cut SIA’s carbon emissions by around 400,000 tonnes annually, it added.

“This agreement with Airbus reinforces SIA’s position as a leading global air cargo carrier while advancing our sustainability goals,” said Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong. “It also ensures that we are prudent with our capital expenditure and adjusts our passenger aircraft order book to give us the flexibility needed to navigate uncertainties in the recovery trajectory.”