Are Boeing and Airbus Flying Into a Bubble?
Bloomberg Businessweek|November 15, 2021
They’re launching freighters just as competition from retrofitted jets and cargo space on passenger planes is heating up
Julie Johnsson and Charlotte  Ryan, with Siddharth  Philip, Kyunghee Park, and Ryan Beene
Are Boeing and Airbus Flying Into a Bubble?

When the world’s air carriers, aerospace manufacturers, and leasing companies gather for the Dubai Airshow in the fall, much of the attention in recent years has been given to the seemingly endless appetite for new planes by homegrown carrier Emirates Airlines and its Gulf competitors. But when this year’s show opens on Nov. 14, the spotlight will be on air freighters.

Because of the dramatic growth of e-commerce, the pickup in demand for both consumer and industrial goods as the pandemic eases, and supply chain turmoil that’s shown the downside of total dependence on ocean shipping, cargo carriers and logistics companies are turning to air freighters. These behemoths can quickly transport huge amounts of freight while bypassing port tieups, shortages of ocean containers or rail cars, and the current dearth of long-haul truck drivers. And aircraft owners are eager to add more of them to their fleets because the prospects for freight growth are encouraging. Plane lessor Avolon Holdings Ltd., for example, forecasts air cargo revenue will reach $150 billion this year, with traffic doubling over the next 20 years.

In Dubai, Airbus SE will be chasing customers for a cargo version of its A350 wide-body passenger plane. Boeing Co. is also preparing to unveil the initial deal for an all-cargo version of its 777X widebody. But the announcement could come outside the airshow if an expected launch customer, Qatar Airways, skips the event because of geopolitical tensions. Both plane makers have been schmoozing the same small circle of potential buyers, a group that includes FedEx, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, and DHL, according to people familiar with the efforts who asked not to be identified as the talks are confidential.

This story is from the November 15, 2021 edition of Bloomberg Businessweek.

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This story is from the November 15, 2021 edition of Bloomberg Businessweek.

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