Singapore Airlines (SIA) has signed a Letter of Intent with Airbus to purchase seven A350F freighter aircraft, with options to order another five aircraft. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of 2025, when SIA will become the first airline to operate this new generation widebody freighter aircraft.
The agreement includes a swap with 15 A320neo and two A350-900 passenger aircraft that are in the SIA Group order book. This allows SIA to manage its capital expenditure, while continuing with the essential freighter renewal programme.
The A350F can carry a similar volume of cargo as the Boeing 747-400F, which it will replace in the SIA fleet. It burns up to 40 per cent less fuel on similar missions to provide better operating economics, and boasts a longer range that offers greater flexibility in aircraft deployment. The A350F is powered by the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engine. For more information, please see Annexe A.
Renewing the freighter fleet reflects SIA’s continued investment in the air cargo segment, which is a core business for the Company. SIA has bolstered its cargo capabilities over the last few years, especially in key segments such as e-commerce, fresh produce, and pharmaceuticals. Adding the A350Fs will reinforce SIA’s leading position in the sector, while strengthening Singapore’s position as a global air cargo hub.
The deal also supports the SIA Group’s sustainability goals, and its commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Operating a young fleet of modern aircraft is the most immediate and effective way for airlines to materially lower their carbon footprint. Replacing the 747-400Fs with the A350Fs would cut SIA’s carbon emissions by around 400,000 tonnes annually, based on current operations. As the A350Fs and the other new-generation aircraft that are in its order book enter into service, the Group’s future fleet will remain one of the youngest in the industry.
Goh Choon Phong, Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Airlines, said: “This agreement with Airbus reinforces SIA’s position as a leading global air cargo carrier, while advancing our sustainability goals. It also ensures that we are prudent with our capital expenditure, and adjusts our passenger aircraft order book to give us the flexibility needed to navigate uncertainties in the recovery trajectory. The A350Fs will replace our seven 747-400F freighters, with the options providing the ability to adapt our requirements to future demand in the cargo market.
“The pandemic has underscored the importance of investing in the cargo business, and bolstering the SIA Group’s diverse revenue streams. Air cargo also plays a vital role in keeping open global supply chains, especially to transport essential goods during these times. SIA has worked closely with our partners in Singapore and around the world to deliver items such as vaccines, personal protection equipment, and food supplies, and we will continue to support such efforts.”