Airbus flying high with freighter sales, chooses to look at the brighter side

Last year, Airbus launched its A350 freighters in light of the increasing demand for air cargo with the aim to infiltrate the Boeing dominated jet market. On Monday, Airbus representatives talked about tentative sales of their wide-body freighter, coming shortly after Boeing launched the cargo version of its future 777X jetliner with launch order from Qatar Airways.

Yes, you can expect to see more orders for the A350 freighter.”

~ Christian Scherer, Chief Commercial Officer, Airbus

The CCO made a statement just as the Singapore Airshow was about to be launched, running from 15th to 18th February. According to sources, Singapore Airlines is one of the potential customers for the Airbus freighter and they may confirm the order of 7 A350 freighters (signed tentatively in December 2021) during the Airshow.

However, Singapore Airlines also terminated previous deals for 15 A320Neo jets and 2 A350-900 passenger planes, though not fazing Airbus. It has also placed a provisional order for at least 25 Boeing 737MAX jets, after Airbus revoked an order for A321Neos as part of their dispute with Qatar Airways over surface damage to A350 jets.

The strategy to cancel orders for previous models and get new ones for the A350 and the 777X cargo freighters have been adopted by both Airbus and its competitor, respectively, in order to remain on the top of their games. Airbus also said that it has firmed up previously tentative orders for 20 A220 small jets from leasing company Aviation Capital Group, a subsidiary of Tokyo Century Corp, and 28 A320Neos from Kuwaiti carrier Jazeera Airways.

While on one hand, the attendance at Asia’s largest aerospace event remains on the lower end citing global COVID-19 restrictions, on the other hand, some markets are on the path to recovery. Even though long-haul travel is still on the rein, airlines are buying jets to fulfil the air-cargo demand. However, Chinese buyers have been keeping a low profile when it comes to dealing with both Airbus and Boeing, to avoid politically sensitive purchases. Scherer expressed his thoughts about how China, which once amounted to a quarter of global purchases, can now find itself in tough waters due to the unavailability of aeroplanes in the near future.

Notwithstanding the pandemic crisis, we’ve continued to sell very successfully…so there’s a lot of pressure now on our friends in China to come to the party or run the risk of seeing not enough capacity to satisfy their needs. But I remain optimistic that China will come back to an ordinary cycle.”

~ Christian Scherer

When asked about disruptions in the Titanium supply chain, due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine geopolitical conflict, Mr. Scherer did not show any particular vexation about it, even though Russia is the biggest producer of the strategically important metal.

“Fundamentally, we are not concerned about the structural issue,” Scherer said.

Considering the ongoing shortage of semi-conductor chips (among other commodities) throughout the world, Airbus is making all efforts to avoid any speed-bumps in the production of the A350 freighters.

Courtesy: Reuters

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