Freighter orders soar in 2015
12 / 01 / 2016
Despite pessimism in the airfreight market in 2015, the year proved to be a busy period for orders of freighter aircraft.
Aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus have now revealed their order and delivery figures for 2015 and there was a notable increase in the number of freighters ordered for both companies.
In total, 75 freighter aircraft were ordered from the two manufacturers in 2015, compared with just 20 in 2014.
Airbus received a total of four orders, all from Turkish Airlines in March, for its A330-200F aircraft last year. This compares with zero orders placed for the aircraft in 2014.
Meanwhile, Boeing received a total of 71 orders for its B747-8F, B777F and B767-300F aircraft, against 20 orders in 2014.
The most popular aircraft last year proved to be the fuel-efficient and quiet medium-widebody 767-300F. Boeing says the 767 is suitable for long-haul, regional or feeder markets.
All orders of the aircraft were placed by FedEx as part of a fleet renewal programme, with 46 of these orders being placed in July. It also has options for a further 50 of the aircraft.
The need for the aircraft comes as FedEx looks to phase out its older A310-200PF and 300PFs and its MD-10 aircraft.
The new orders will be delivered from fiscal 2018 through 2023.
While the FedEx deal gave the newbuild freighter market a boost last year, 2015 would still have exceeded 2014 levels by five aeroplanes if the 767s were stripped out of figures.
Other major orders in the year were, Korean Air’s decision to take five B777Fs in February; Silk Way’s order for three B747-8Fs, Qatar’s order for four B777Fs and EVA Air’s order for five B777Fs.
The other big freighter order news from last year was the memorandum of understanding signed by AirBridgeCargo (ABC) and Boeing in June for 20 747-8F aircraft as it looks to expand from a niche to global player.
So far, ABC has firmed up only two of the orders, and therefore they do not appear on the Boeing figures, although it did also take two 747-8s on lease in November.
Boeing’s 747-8 programme has slowed of late and on Boeing’s official figures there are only seven unfulfilled freighter orders left for the aircraft.
As a result, it will slow production to one -8 aircraft per month from March this year.
It was also a busy year on the delivery front for the two manufacturers as they delivered a total of 45 aircraft, up from 35 in 2014.
The popular widebody B777F was the most delivered freighter in 2015, with 19 of the aircraft completed for airlines.
Four of the aircraft went to China Southern, four to an unidentified customer, three to Air China Cargo, two apiece to Ethiopian and FedEx and one apiece to Dubai Aerospace, Korean Air, Lufthansa Cargo and Qatar.
The next most delivered aircraft in 2015 was the 767-300F, with all 16 heading to FedEx.
While Boeing may have dominated the production freighter market in 2015, Airbus received more orders overall.
This morning Airbus announced it had received 1,036 orders in 2015 compared with the 768 received by Boeing.
This moves the European manufacturer’s orderbook to 6,787 aircraft compared with Boeing’s 5,795.
However, Boeing delivered more aircraft during the year, with 762 handed over to customers while Airbus’ deliveries totalled 635.