New orders for Airbus widebody freight workhorse

Airbus A350F

The Air France-KLM Group has placed a firm order for four A350Fs, the new Airbus widebody freighter.

The aircraft will be operated by Martinair Holland N.V., a Dutch cargo airline headquartered and based in Amsterdam Schiphol airport, and part of KLM Group.

The A350F’s will allow the airline to retire its existing older generation freighters and replace them with a clean sheet cargo aircraft that offers a big step towards more sustainable cargo operations.

This order involves Airbus’s wing-making plant at Broughton, near Chester, which employs around 5,000 staff.

Adriaan den Heijer, executive vice president Air France KLM Cargo and managing director Martinair, said: “We are delighted to make this major step forward to the A350F.

“It accelerates Air France KLM Martinair Cargo sustainability ambitions with significant improvement on fuel emissions and complying with most stringent ICAO Chapter 14 for noise and CAEP 8 for NOx.

“We are fit for the future.”

Christian Scherer, Airbus chief commercial officer and head of Airbus International, said: “Another A350F endorsement, and a great one, too.

“We are delighted to see the A350F enter the KLM/Martinair world, confirming the relevance this most modern high capacity long range cargo aircraft brings to the airfreight segment.

“I am very pleased with the way our programme is taking off. With 50% less noise, and 40% less fuel burn and CO2 emissions compared to the previous generation aircraft it is replacing, that is hardly a surprise. We thank Air France-KLM Group for their continued confidence.”

The A350F will feature the largest main deck cargo door and a fuselage length optimised for cargo operations.

More than 70% of the airframe is made of advanced materials resulting in a minimum 30 tonnes lighter take-off weight, which, together with efficient Rolls-Royce engines, generate an advantage of at least 20% lower fuel burn and CO2 emission over its current closest competitor.

Delivery to Martinair will be in time to comply with the latest ICAO CO2 emissions standards that will come into effect by the end of 2027.

Launched in 2021, the A350F recorded 35 orders from seven customers.