Airbus and Boeing enjoyed another strong year in 2014. When Airbus publishes its final tally tomorrow, we expect the two manufacturers will have combined for over 3,000 commercial jet orders in the year.
Almost all of the activity, however, was on the passenger side of the business, and, as shown in the chart at right, orders for freighters were scarce – just twenty new orders, less than 1% of the total. After subtracting cancellations, Boeing’s net freighter order total was eighteen, while Airbus took no new orders and suffered one cancellation for a net freighter order total of negative one.
New-build freighter deliveries continued apace, however, and while the backlog of 121 units at the end of 2014 is still substantial, it is down from the 125-unit backlog of at the end of 2013, and nowhere near the 195-unit backlog at the end of 2012, and 234 in 2011.
Below we look at the year for each currently available freighter type.
A330-200F: Airbus booked no orders for the A330-200F in 2014, and in fact suffered one cancellation, as lessor Intrepid Aviation swapped its last freighter order for a passenger aircraft order. During the year, Airbus delivered five A330-200Fs –two each to Qatar Airways and Avianca, and one to Etihad Airways. Its backlog now stands at eight.
747-8F: Boeing booked orders for just two 747-8Fs in 2014, one from Cargolux and one from AirBridgeCargo Airlines. The two new orders were exactly matched by the cancellation of a two-unit order by lessor GECAS. Boeing delivered nine 747-8Fs – three to Nippon Cargo Airlines; two each to Cargolux and the Silk Way Group; and one each to AirBridgeCargo Airlines and Korean Air. Its backlog now stands at twelve 747-8Fs.
777F: A last-minute order for six units from an unidentified customer (which Cargo Facts believes is likely a lessor, rather than a carrier – see below) and a last-minute firming of an earlier LOI for four units by Qatar Airways boosted Boeing’s 2014 777F order total to fourteen. Boeing also lists the order for the other four as from an unidentified customer, which Cargo Facts believes to be FedEx. The manufacturer delivered thirteen 777Fs in 2014 – four to Air China Cargo, two each to Ethiopian Airlines, Lufthansa Cargo, Qatar Airways, and Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (for Emirates), and on to Korean Air. Boeing’s 777F backlog is now fifty-four.
767-300F: FedEx was the only customer to place an order for the 767-300F in 2013, and that was for four units. Likewise, FedEx was the only delivery customer, taking five 767-300Fs in 2014. Boeing’s backlog now stands at forty-seven (all for FedEx), but the manufacturer also has a substantial backlog of 767-based refueling tankers for the US Air Force.