On July 29, 2021, the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus announced that the board has approved the development of a freighter version of its Airbus A350 passenger aircraft.
“Furthermore and following Board approval, we are enhancing our product line with an A350 freighter derivative, responding to customer feedback for increased competition and efficiency in this market segment,” said Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury.
The decision to develop a freighter version of its Airbus A350 passenger aircraft comes after the manufacturer saw a demand for new freighters from their customers. Airbus is aiming to debut the new Airbus A350 freighter in 2025. However, the European planemaker has not indicated any potential launch customers.
However, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said the Doha-based air carrier was keen to add more freighters to its fleet, as the air freight market is likely to remain strong after the COVID-19 crisis is resolved. During an interview on June 22, 2021, the boss of Qatar Airways indicated that the airline would be “very keen” to be a launch customer for either Airbus A350 or Boeing 777X freighter if the aircraft manufacturers would make those aircraft available.