LAS VEGAS — Airbus is staging a return to the production freighter business with an aircraft based on the A350-1000, and as air cargo industry stakeholders learn more about program specifics, prospects are looking increasingly bright.
Most of the well-informed audience expected the A350F to be built in numbers greater than 100 units, according to a live poll during an appraisers panel at Cargo Facts Symposium titled, “Deal or no Deal: Inside aircraft values, freighter edition.”
“I think there’s consensus most people think it’s going to be more than 100,” said George Dimitroff, head of valuations at Ascend. “I think significantly more than 100, actually.”
A350F briefings that took place on the sidelines of the Symposium lifted expectations for the aircraft’s market reception, multiple delegates told Cargo Facts.
“I was under 100 until we had our Airbus briefing,” said Doug Kelly, senior vice president of asset valuation at AVITAS Inc., during the panel.
Appraisers expect room for multiple production widebody freighter offerings in the market, including a freighter variant of the forthcoming 777X from Boeing.
The large widebody freighter fleet is expected to grow from 629 units at the end of the first quarter, to 1,085 units by 2040, according to the Cargo Facts Consulting 20-Year Freighter Forecast. A total of 712 large widebodies will be needed over the next two decades comprising of 456 to satisfy net growth requirements, and 307 to replace retired units.
“There’s definitely room for Airbus and Boeing both to be successful,” said Kelly.