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Why Does Airbus Not Offer More Types Of Freighters  
User currently offline707437 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 152 posts, RR: 1
Posted (8 years 10 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 10349 times:

Boeing has managed to market new build (not conversions) Combis and dedicated freighter for the entire range of 7 series aircraft except for the 717 and 787.

As far as I can tell only the A300 and A380 are offered as freighters. No A320s or 330 or 340 are offered as new build freighters.

So is Airbus not interested in the market? (for new build freighters only, not conversions) or what?

Have any A320s, A330s or A340s ever been converted for cargo use?

All I've ever seen in service are A300-600 freighters w/ FEDEX and UPS.

37 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently onlinePanHAM From Germany, joined May 2005, 8740 posts, RR: 28
Reply 1, posted (8 years 10 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 10334 times:

The A310 has been converted to Freighter as well and is in service with FEDEX and a number of other airlines and air forces (Germany). Conversions are still under way at the EADS plant in Dresden. With the A330 Tanker, a freight version of that model might become available.

The Boeing 717's predecessor DC9 is available as freighter as well, completing the whole Boeing/McDonnel-Douglas range of modells.

The 787 might have a freighter version at a later stage.

Looks like Boeing has covered that market reasonably good and when there is no market for a second supplier they do not invest in it.



I'm not fishing for compliments
User currently offlineScbriml From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 12038 posts, RR: 47
Reply 2, posted (8 years 10 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 10327 times:
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I believe they will offer an A330F eventually. I think a lot of the design work has already been done as part of the A330 tanker project.


Hey AA, the 1960s called. They want their planes back!
User currently offlineDLKAPA From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (8 years 10 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 10305 times:

The A340 is a slow-climber with pax onboard. As a freighter, you couldn't do much with it.

User currently offlineXXXX10 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2000, 777 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 years 10 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 10255 times:

I wasn't aware of the 777F. My guess would be that the A320 series aircraft would make bad freighters, probably because of a similar airframe being available in the size of the 727F at a lower cost. Although the Airbus is more efficient the extra cost of the new airframe would be prohibitive.

When the design is older and there are many parked up examples then you may see some conversions done, normally at that time would you see a purpose built A320 F. I would imagine the same is true of the A330 range and the A340.

I would that Boeings current freighter production is mainly the 747F there are not many new 767F and 757F aircraft built most are conversions.


User currently offlineM404 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 2220 posts, RR: 5
Reply 5, posted (8 years 10 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 10256 times:
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Since Boeing is said to have stated that the 787 cannot be made into a tanker can we assume a freighter is also unfeasible?


Less sarcasm and more thought equal better understanding
User currently onlinePanHAM From Germany, joined May 2005, 8740 posts, RR: 28
Reply 6, posted (8 years 10 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 10236 times:

The freighter market is actually much smaller than for passenger aircraft, That plus the comversions make it less attractive to offer a freighter version for every type of aircraft that is available.


I'm not fishing for compliments
User currently offlineFlyAUA From Austria, joined May 2005, 4604 posts, RR: 56
Reply 7, posted (8 years 10 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 10206 times:

Quoting 707437 (Thread starter):

Because this is such a small market and Boeing already has most of it. Most Freighter companies prefer to acquire older aircraft which airlines don't want anymore. They just convert them into cargo aircraft, and voila, you've got your freighter. Most cargo companies will not invest in expensive new aircraft. There is no point... you have no passengers to please. As long as it takes the cargo from X to Z, mission accomplised  

There is only one case I remember covering during my studies which was an exception to this. DHL at EGNX was sort of pressured (to put it nicely) from the area into buying aircraft that were quieter than the ones they already operated. People were getting disturbed by DHLs old noisy aircraft using the airport in the middle of the night, so they were (to get to the point) forced to use B757s instead.

So I think Airbus has taken the right steps to stay out of this market which would actually not benefit it. The A380F is the exception because it will be the largest freighter available and there is no aircraft to compete with it .This might have been the reason (IMO a wise decision) for airbus to build a cargo aircraft!

Hope this answers your question  

Edit: Yes, thanks Oly720man for mentioning the Beluga as well, it completely slipped my mind. I don't care what people say about it. I'd go to the airport any day to watch it land Big grin

[Edited 2005-05-27 10:51:54]


Not drinking, also isn't a solution!
User currently offlineOly720man From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 6604 posts, RR: 11
Reply 8, posted (8 years 10 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 10195 times:

Don't forget the Beluga (I know it's a pregnant A300)

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Photo © Erik Frikke




wheat and dairy can screw up your brain
User currently offlineTrex8 From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 4493 posts, RR: 14
Reply 9, posted (8 years 10 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 10082 times:
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Quoting M404 (Reply 5):
Since Boeing is said to have stated that the 787 cannot be made into a tanker can we assume a freighter is also unfeasible?

it all depends on what they think is the market, the problem is you cannot just cut out a section of a composite fuselage and stuff a big cargo door there which is what most freighter concersions entails (besides strengthened floors). It has to be built from scratch that way. If the market is potentially big enough to justify the capital costs they could do it. But it probably isn't. With a tanker or other special military operations version (sigint/elint etc), there definitely is no market for making a whole new fuselage structure with multiple apertures for the various antenna needed.


User currently offlineDAYflyer From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 3807 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (8 years 10 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 10072 times:

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 1):
The 787 might have a freighter version at a later stage.

Ah, a fresh rumor! Just kidding, couldn't help myself.



One Nation Under God
User currently onlinePanHAM From Germany, joined May 2005, 8740 posts, RR: 28
Reply 11, posted (8 years 10 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 10011 times:

Quoting DAYflyer (Reply 10):

Ah, a fresh rumor! Just kidding, couldn't help myself.

To put out a fresh rumor, the word would have been "will eventually" - I wrote "might" which is a wild guess based on the experience that Boeing had freighter versions of every base model so far. Adding to the wild guess I'd say that this is about 15 years down the road.



I'm not fishing for compliments
User currently offlineBoeing Nut From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (8 years 10 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 9952 times:

Quoting M404 (Reply 5):
Since Boeing is said to have stated that the 787 cannot be made into a tanker

Yea, and if you really believe that, then I got some ocean front property in Nebreska I'd love to tell you about.


User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21416 posts, RR: 60
Reply 13, posted (8 years 10 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 9941 times:

Maybe you can't cut out a door, but you certainly could slice the sucker into two, remove a chunk, and replace it with a reengineered chunk built with a door...


Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineWidebodyphotog From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 917 posts, RR: 67
Reply 14, posted (8 years 10 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 9919 times:

The fundamental problem with larger Airbus widebody freighters is twofold:

First, the A330 cross section is too small to load the same container contour as a 777F, MD11/DC10, or 747F. Where the former mentioned aircraft can load two M size containers/pallets side-by-side, the A330 cross section is too small to do so with a practical ULD contour.

Secondly is structural efficiency. Airbus aircraft are notoriously heavy relative to the structural payload limits of the airframe. Take for example 777-200LR vs A340-500. Both aircraft have a similar internal volume and floor area. However the empty weight of the Airbus is 377,000lbs while the Boeing is 320,000lbs. Their respective structural payload limits are 119,000lbs and 141,000lbs. The 777 is able to carry a much higher payload per unit structural weight, this is generally true of all Boeing aircraft, and why they make good freighters. The 777F structural weight will be reduced by 25-30,000lbs relative to the passenger version and payload would increase to 229,000lbs. In order for the A345 to gain comparable structural efficiency with the same maximum payload Airbus would have to reduce the structural weight by 82-87,000lbs! Basically that is impossible to do on that aircraft.

In the freighter world structural efficiency means everything. It is a direct indicator of what your ton/mile cost will be. Volume efficiency is next, basically how much of the cross section area X hold length is able to be filled with freight in a practical manner. The A330/A340 cross section/airframe loses out on both of these relative to the competition.

In the case of the A380 relative to 747, the Airbus still comes up short in terms of structural efficiency, but it has a tremendous loadable voulume and Boeing can not yet match its 150t maximum payload. This is a blessing and a curse for the A380F. The density of loading must be kept low relative to payload, and the ton/mile cost will still be higher than the 747F. But it will be able to carry it's maximum payload 700nm farther than 747F. This bascally limits the most efficient application of A380F to the package freight business where freight density is low, sectors are long, and per kilo yields are very high. The 747F and its new little brother 777F are much more flexible because their specific operating costs are low, and payload vs volume is just about optimal giving them a much broader range of potential applications.

-widebodyphotog



If you know what's really going on then you'll know what to do
User currently offlineMD80Nut From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 889 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (8 years 10 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 9904 times:

What about conversions of older A320s to freighters? In the next few years the oldest A320s in service will start to hit the 20 year old mark, is anybody planning or thinking about converting some of them to cargo in the future? It seems to me the combination of the A320's wider fuselage plus the ability to use containers in the belly would make the A320 an attractive candidate for conversion to freighter. Or are there issues I'm not aware of that would not make it so?

Cheers, Ralph



Fly Douglas Jets DC-8 / DC-9 / DC-10 / MD80 / MD11 / MD90 / 717
User currently offlineDutchjet From Netherlands, joined Oct 2000, 7864 posts, RR: 57
Reply 16, posted (8 years 10 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 9895 times:

Dont forget that Airbus has been very successful with its A300 Freighters - the A300 has had a "second-life" as a newbuild freighter which has suprised many, including some at Airbus. UPS and FedEx have enormous fleets of new-build A300Fs which have kept the A300 production line open in the past years. FedEx has also converted many, many A310s (first the less popular -200 series and now the -300 series) into freighters. A good number of the A380s on order are dedicated freighters, so there is a future.

A huge portion of cargo airliners are conversions - and conversions in significant numbers usually occur as an aircraft type matures. The simple fact is that most of the Airbus airliners flying around are not that old! The A300 and A310 series have had many conversions, but the A330/340 are, for the most part, are simply too new - maybe in the future, maybe not.

Airbus has not focused on newbuild freighters thus far (except for the A300 and the coming A380F), but over time, we may see Airbus launch an A330 Freighter variant.


User currently offlineAreopagus From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 1368 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (8 years 10 months 4 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 9852 times:

Quoting M404 (Reply 5):
Since Boeing is said to have stated that the 787 cannot be made into a tanker can we assume a freighter is also unfeasible?

The 787 fuselage descends from the Sonic Cruiser design, which a Boeing official claimed to be good in the freighter role, being designed wide enough to carry pallets sideways on the main deck.


User currently offlineTrex8 From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 4493 posts, RR: 14
Reply 18, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 9766 times:
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Quoting Widebodyphotog (Reply 14):
First, the A330 cross section is too small to load the same container contour as a 777F, MD11/DC10, or 747F. Where the former mentioned aircraft can load two M size containers/pallets side-by-side, the A330 cross section is too small to do so with a practical ULD contour.

do you mean 2 M1s with its longest dimension parallel to the walls or transverse??? a P7E / PGE / PGA is 238in wide and barely fits, 2 M1s would be 250in! height maybe a problem with a M1 in a A300, its 8feet!


User currently offlinePHXinterrupted From United States of America, joined Apr 2002, 474 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 9755 times:

Quoting Dutchjet (Reply 16):
Dont forget that Airbus has been very successful with its A300 Freighters - the A300 has had a "second-life" as a newbuild freighter which has suprised many, including some at Airbus. UPS and FedEx have enormous fleets of new-build A300Fs which have kept the A300 production line open in the past years. FedEx has also converted many, many A310s (first the less popular -200 series and now the -300 series) into freighters. A good number of the A380s on order are dedicated freighters, so there is a future.

A huge portion of cargo airliners are conversions - and conversions in significant numbers usually occur as an aircraft type matures. The simple fact is that most of the Airbus airliners flying around are not that old! The A300 and A310 series have had many conversions, but the A330/340 are, for the most part, are simply too new - maybe in the future, maybe not.

Airbus has not focused on newbuild freighters thus far (except for the A300 and the coming A380F), but over time, we may see Airbus launch an A330 Freighter variant.

Just for the record:

The 330/340 program was officially launched in June 1987. The 777 program was officially launched in October 1990.



Keepin' it real.
User currently offlineWidebodyphotog From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 917 posts, RR: 67
Reply 20, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 9693 times:

An "M" sixe pallet has base dimensions of 96 X 125 "M1" is an IATA rate class for a 10ft container.

IATA size code for a 20ft pallet is "G", 96 X 238.5 inches base dimensions. 777F will be able to load G size pallets in the same configuration as 747F, but slightly different contour.



Here is the cross section of 777F



A300/310 can load standard M base pallets or containers with the 96 inch base dimension across the cabin, and 96 inch high rectangular contour.



But it can not load two "J" contour (MD-11/DC-10, 96 inches high) or "D" contour (747, 118 inches high) M base containers side by side. It's simply not possible.




787 cross section is able to accomodate M base containers/pallets with the 125 inch side across the cabin, allowing more units per length of fuselage than the A300/310 cross section.

-widebodyphotog

[Edited 2005-05-28 04:38:18]


If you know what's really going on then you'll know what to do
User currently offline777ER From New Zealand, joined Dec 2003, 11850 posts, RR: 18
Reply 21, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 9634 times:
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Don't forget the Beluga The beluga is only for Airbus use

User currently offlineWhiteHatter From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 9557 times:

Quoting 777ER (Reply 21):
The beluga is only for Airbus use

The Beluga is available for external work should it arise, although so far that has been limited (pretty sure ESA use it for moving rocket parts around). Airbus would build them for customers if anyone wanted them, but it is a very specialised aircraft and needs substantial ground support assets.

Shame that Airbus never managed to get Boeing involved when the aircraft was designed. That could have saved Seattle a lot of dough nowadays. The original Beluga was proposed around a 767 base aircraft but Boeing refused to become involved, and an A300 was used instead. That aircraft could have been extremely useful to Boeing nowadays with the 737 fuselage bullet hole problem and the forthcoming 787.


User currently offlineKeesje From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 9536 times:

Quoting Widebodyphotog (Reply 14):
First, the A330 cross section is too small to load the same container contour as a 777F, MD11/DC10, or 747F.

The 330 has the same cross section as the A300/310, the aircraft of choice of cargo specialists like UPS, FEDEX & DHL.

Are you sure you are telling the full story here?

http://www.nationmaster.com/images/enc/F/Fedex.a300-600.750pix.jpg

No doubt there will be an A330F and SF conversions at some point when passengers aircraft sales (higher margins) drop and the large A300/310F fleet starts aging..

A330´s using industry standard LD3 containers rather than the special purpose LD2s, which are exclusive to the 767, made it a winner.

http://www.cathaypacific.com/cx/internet/cargo/images/en/ake.gif


User currently offlineClipperNo1 From Germany, joined May 1999, 672 posts, RR: 2
Reply 24, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 9512 times:

Quoting MD80Nut (Reply 15):
What about conversions of older A320s to freighters?

I think FX looked into that before bulk-buying 734s. With no Integrator (DHL too small, UPS with sh!tloads of A300s on hand) in sight for such a project I doubt it will happen in the next 10 years. The critical go-ahead mass for such a conversion-project should be around 100 airframes. LLike I said..maybe in 10 years.
I'd love to see/utilize an A319CJ-F, but it won't happen.



"I really don't know one plane from the other. To me they are just marginal costs with wings."� Alfred Kahn, 1977
25 Widebodyphotog : It can not load two of them side-by-side like MD-11 or 747F can. FedEx Side-by-side loading on A310/A300 is an AYY next to an AMJ. -widebodyphotog
26 Post contains links and images Widebodyphotog : An illustration to scale of the transverse cargo envelope of these aircraft -widebodyphotog
27 777STL : I still don't get it, why is that a problem? The 330 has the same cross section of the 300 and the 300 is a very capable freighter. Obviously the 330
28 Widebodyphotog : The A300-600F is a capable 45t package freighter. It's loading density is very low and that's fine for FedEx and UPS because their per kilo yields are
29 OldAeroGuy : And an A345 Freighter looks even worse considering its high OEW and poor fuel efficiency. The 777F has a pretty clear field in its size category.
30 Udo : Wrong. Airbus Transport International is regularly contracted to fly satellites or large machinery. Regards Udo
31 Keesje : You picking the A330-300 makes me a bit suspicous. The 330-200 seems more logical. (tankers, range)
32 Post contains links and images PipoA380 : I don't think so, but 310's have: Here's a Royl Jordanian Cargo 310 View Large View MediumPhoto © Roy Loyson Here's a FedEx 310 View Large View
33 Widebodyphotog : Suspicious of what? OK, let's look at a possible A330-200 conversion Estimated OEW: 240,000 Max Zero Fuel weight: 381,400 (From A340-200) Max structu
34 N79969 : The A300 has an advantage over the 767F that I do not think has been mentioned. If I recall correctly, the A300F belly hold can accommodate side-by-si
35 Post contains links and images Widebodyphotog : This is only partially true... The containerized hold on 763F can load ULD 96 inches wide while the A300F can load ULD 125 inches wide. But while the
36 Unicorn : One reason that we have not seen cargo conversions of A320 and A330 / A340 series aircraft is that the residual values have not yet fallen to the poin
37 Cslusarc : Has FedEx already bought 734s to replace their aging 727s (both -1XX and -2XX variants)? I would have remembered it being mentioned. How much longer
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