A slow year for new-build freighter orders

Airbus and Boeing enjoyed another strong year in 2013, booking almost 3,000 commercial jet orders between them. As shown in the accompanying charts, both manufacturers also suffered some cancellations, but even so, the net order total of 2,705 is impressive. Most of the activity, however, was on the passenger side of the business, and orders for freighters were scarce – just twenty-three new orders, less than 1% of the total. After subtracting cancellations, Boeing’s net freighter order total was just four, while Airbus reported a net freighter order total of negative twelve. As is usual with orders for passenger aircraft, orders for narrowbodies accounted for the biggest percentage of the total – 75% for Airbus and 65% for Boeing.

2013 saw continuing strong demand for narrowbody freighter conversions, but as mentioned above, orders for new-build freighters were scarce, with twenty-three orders outweighed by thirty-one cancellations. Deliveries continued apace, however, and while the backlog of 136 units is still substantial, it is well down from the 195-unit backlog at the end of 2012, and 234 in 2011.

A330-200F: Airbus booked six orders for the A330-200F, five from Qatar Airways and one from Etihad Airways. However, Intrepid Aviation and OH-Avion swapped orders for ten and eight A330-200Fs, respectively, for passenger aircraft orders, leaving Airbus with a net negative freighter total. Airbus delivered eight A330-200Fs in 2013 and now has a backlog of fifteen.

747-8F: Boeing booked orders for six 747-8Fs, four from Cathay Pacific and two from Silk Way Airlines. The six new orders were almost matched by the cancellation of a five-unit order by lessor Dubai Aerospace Enterprise. Boeing delivered nineteen 747-8Fs this year, and its backlog now stands at twenty-two 747-8Fs.

777F: As part of a larger deal, Cathay Pacific cancelled its order for eight 777Fs and Air China Cargo ordered eight. Combined with an order from Etihad Airways for a single unit, Boeing ended the year with one net 777F order. Boeing delivered fourteen 777Fs in 2013, leaving it with a backlog of fifty-one.

767-300F: FedEx was the only customer to place an order for the 767-300F this year, and that was for just two units. Boeing delivered thirteen 767-300Fs in 2013, and its backlog now stands at forty-eight (all for FedEx).

2 thoughts on “A slow year for new-build freighter orders

  1. David  – thanks, an interesting round up – are you proposing to post a similar summary reflecting activity on the p2f conversion front? If you do, I suspect it maybe insightful, where there have been no orders in 2013, to look at the date the last contracts were signed on the programmes?

    Anyway all the best for 2014 and thanks for some great blogs in 2013!

    Cliff Duke

  2. ICAO-operated ULD-airfreighters account for moving 2 % of world’s containerised merchandise, whilst international Shipping move the other 98 % … one day hopefully the old boys in Chicago and Toulouse will grasp this hard fact, and maybe will they then decide to build a TEU-dedicated airfreighter, suiting the needs of the Shipping, to start play balls with the Big Boys ? Compromising A or B paxliners-F as ULD-airvectors will never lead to any noticeable sales success !

Get Latest Issue