With global air freight traffic expected to grow 4.8 per cent annually over the next 20 years, Airbus is well-positioned to help operators accommodate this demand with its two A330-based freighter programmes: the A330-200F, which already is demonstrating its value in reliable service around the globe; and the A330P2F (passenger-to-freighter) conversion that is now advancing through the development phase.
As the air freight market emerges from the economic downturn of recent years, Airbus sees a much greater need for mid-size freighters in the A330-200F and A330P2F category as operators move away from the large freighter aircraft that are becoming more and more difficult to fill due to overcapacity issues.
Airbus’ A330-200F and A330P2F are highly complementary products, according to Andreas Hermann, Airbus Vice President, Freighters - Customer Affairs.
The A330-200F is a new-production aircraft that addresses the needs of general cargo freight and their high utilisation requirements. Following its service entry in 2010, this freighter has proven itself by providing reliable, flexible and profitable operations to all continents.
Used in both long-haul and regional missions, the aircraft has attained a reliability rate of more than 99.6 per cent and in-service utilisation up to 400 flight hours per month. With some 25 currently in operation worldwide, the A330-200F received a new business boost at the Dubai Airshow with repeat orders from its two current Gulf region operators: Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways.
The A330P2F programme will directly address specific needs of the express freight sector – which focuses on more volume, lower densities, lower utilisations, and has lower price point expectations. The solution is to modify A330s that have completed their useful operational service as passenger jetliners, adapting them for new careers as cargo aircraft.
Hermann said the express freight sector currently is experiencing considerable growth in Asia and China, as well as in Latin America.
The A330P2F programme is well advanced in its development phase, which brings together the resources of Airbus, the EADS EFW sister company within Airbus’ EADS parent group, and ST Aerospace of Singapore. Detailed development will soon follow, on the way to a service entry in early 2017.