With the increasing demand for air cargo, the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus chief executive believes the market needs more competition. 

“We have seen the demand that has been growing during the COVID-19 pandemic. We see that this is really a trend and it is very likely to last,” Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said in an interview at the Conference of Montreal on September 14, 2021. “There are a lot of opportunities when we look at this market.”

Faury explained that Airbus has almost “not been present on that segment in the past”, thus airlines have asked the company to “invest and bring competition, and therefore better prices and products to the market”.

“We recently have announced that we will launch a freighter version of A350,” Faury added.

On July 29, 2021, the board of Airbus approved the development of a freighter version of its Airbus A350 passenger aircraft. The new freighter will be entering service in 2025. 

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Airbus board approves to launch Airbus A350 freighter.
 

While Airbus has not indicated potential customers of the Airbus A350 freighter just yet, there are airlines that would be keen to be the launch customers of a new freighter type. 

During an interview on June 22, 2021, Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker indicated that the airline would be “very keen” to be a launch customer for either Airbus A350 or Boeing 777X freighters if the manufacturers would make those aircraft available. 

“Qatar Airways is very interested in purchasing a large fleet of freighters because we have to now start replacing our old freighters,” Al Baker told Reuters in June 2021. “We would be very keen to place an order with Boeing or with Airbus. It all depends on how things proceed.”

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Qatar Airways CEO said the airline was ready to buy Boeing and Airbus freighters.