- A330-200F Sales Slower Than Expected
- 777F Demand Strong
- Since A330-200F Launch, 767F Pulled In More Orders*
- Future 777F Plans Laid Out With 777X
Despite the availability of airplanes for conversion, the 767 Freighter has not suffered any “knock-out” blow by its bigger A330-200 Freighter rival, even though in recent years, the passenger market for the 767 dramatically waned and tapered off as the A330 became and is still an operators favourite for a variety of missions.
As at the end of April 2012*, the A330-200F backlog was just 47 units, marginally ahead of the 767 Freighter with 42 units. The 777F however, remains the most popular mid-to-large size freighter with a backlog of some 68 units.
With 59 deliveries*, one more than the entire backlog for the A330-200F, the 777F is also quietly stealing the thunder away from its bigger 747-8F sibling.
The notion that the 767F would be decimated by the 2007 launch of the A330-200F is somewhat misguided. In fact, since the launch of the A330-200F, the 767F has racked up more orders that its Airbus rival – 62 vs. 58.
But while the future of the 767 family rests more with the KC-46A tanker effort, the rising star has been the 777F, accumulating 127 firm orders*, almost double that of the bigger 747-8F.
Looking beyond the numbers, the A330F is in a worrying position with the bulk of the 47 remaining deliveries in the hands of leasing companies – and with the current sag of the freighter market, finding homes for them while generating profitable leases has been painful. That is part of the reason for customers deferring deliveries and converting some of these to passenger models where demand is more brisk. By extension, there have been just two A330-200F deliveries in 2012.
In contrast, there have been five 767F and six 777F deliveries in the same period.
The ever-expanding pool of 777-300ERs has given rise to the popularity of the 777F, not just because of the inherent value through operational efficiency and commonality, but also because of its versatility through being the world’s longest ranged freighter that can accommodate a mix of weights on missions that cut costs far deeper than many imagine.
Emirates and FedEx are just 777F operators that have seen the benefits of even flying lightly loaded, knowing that their cut in fuel bills runs way beyond double-digit figures for each leg that is operated.
With the progressive push to launch the 777-8X and 777-9X, Emirates has quietly been advocating a full tri-launch of the 777X family to include a 777-8X based freighter model.
Boeing isn’t in any need or rush to do this given the backlog it has on the 777F as well as the strong demand for that airplane, so there’s little incentive to cannibalise what is arguably its most profitable freighter product. A replacement will eventually emerge, but we don’t see that happening anytime soon.
China will assume further 777F orders – irrespective of the quagmire due to the controversial ETS scheme, Chinese airlines are looking away from converted applications to all new solutions. Given the 777Fs reputation and a recent expression to order 20 777-300ERs by China Eastern Airlines, Boeing has an easier time placing jets here, even at lower margins and can outflank Airbus on the A330-200F, which is nowhere near close to recouping development costs.
That said, wherever there’s a 777-300ER operating, it is hard to discount the possibility, if not outright inevitability, that the same customer will procure or already operate the 777F.
*Data as at April 30, 2012 – OEM Sourced
Image Courtesy Of Boeing