The thinking first leaked on Bloomberg, suggests that a full freighter with fuel efficient state-of-the-art engines could rapidly kickstart A330neo production and dynamically spark new competition with Boeing.
So far uptake of the A330neo has been disappointing with just 200 orders since its launch. Industry sources suggest Both Amazon and UPS proposed the idea of producing a freighter version of the A330-900 with more cargo capacity for shorter deployments.
The addition of a freight model could boost the demand for the type, which has just received 200 orders since its launch. Understandably Airbus and Amazon would not be drawn on the issue. But do not be surprised if one liveried, possibly in UPS colours makes it debut at the enlarged Farnborough Airshow this June .....
UPS routinely taps into the market in order to acquire both new and used freighters, but they unconvincingly described its involvement in the launch of an A330neo freighter programme as "speculation." Clearly the dynamics of air cargo consignments has changed, and rebounded sharply in 2017 from a ten-year downturn, according to IATA published figures. Newish entrants such as Amazon are clearly pushing what is possible. They are rapidly building an air cargo freighter fleet of 40 Boeing 767s in order to be more independent of rival service providers.
Boeing currently dominates the freighter market. Airbus' freighter A330-200F has received only 42 orders so far. The aircraft can carry 65 to 70 tons of cargo.
Source: Bloomberg, UPS, Aerotime,