A record passenger order — does it have an impact on cargo?

At the Dubai Airshow, Emirates signed a firm order with Boeing for fifty 777-300ERs (with options for twenty more). This is the largest order, by dollar value, Boeing has ever booked.


When all fifty units are delivered, it will give Emirates a fleet of 182 passenger 777s, mostly -300ERs, and a 777-300ER is a belly-cargo monster. As an example of its capacity, consider that Air Canada operated a 777-300ER from Vancouver to Frankfurt a year ago with a full passenger load, and still managed to carry over thirty tonnes of freight. So another way to look at EK’s fifty-unit 777-300ER pax order is to say it provides the carrier with 1,500 tonnes of additional cargo capacity — the equivalent of adding thirteen 747-400 Freighters to the fleet.


For more information about the order, and a high-res version of the picture in our photo section, click here.

3 thoughts on “A record passenger order — does it have an impact on cargo?

  1. David, This is consistent with the message that we heard at the Cargo Facts Symposium. In the session “Global Air Cargo from Airline Perspective” one of the panelists said “many carriers are adding belly capacity.” We’ve been talking for several years now about modal shift; this isn’t quite modal shift, but it’s a shift in business model. Adding belly freight capability provides flexibility; depending on the current market requirements, the aircraft can serve dual purpose – either passengers or cargo. 

  2. No doubt, the increasing orders of 777-300ER will enhance carrier’s cargo capability through passenger route networks, but the cargo flows may not exactly match with the passenger flows, the belly capacities may divert some of cargos in some routes, but the main deck freighters will continue to perform well since it can follow the cargo flows better than belly capacities.

  3. As discussed by other participants, this will have an impact as to the flow of cargo (flying along passenger routes). However, it will have a larger impact in the way air cargo is priced. We have seen that many airlines with no freighters tend to underprice their cargo services. In some instances, just to provide a marginal yield.  This distorts the marketplace, making freighters economically inviable along the same route(s).  This situation is well known by freight forwarders, pressing all freighter carriers to discount their services.  If this trend continues, it will be harder and harder to make freighters profitable.

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