France-based shipping group CMA CGM has firmed up an order for four A350F aircraft in what has been a busy week for the recently launched freighter programme.

Last month, CMA CGM signed a memorandum of understanding covering the purchase of four of the type but the deal has now been completed.

This order will bring CMA CGM’s total Airbus fleet to nine aircraft, including four A330-200F and one A330-200 to be converted into a freighter. In addition, the company has plans to add two B777 freighters.

The aircraft features a large maindeck cargo door and a fuselage length optimised for cargo operations.

The company said that more than 70% of the airframe is made of advanced materials resulting in a 30 tonne lighter take-off weight, generating an at least 20% lower fuel burn over its current closest competitor.

“With a 109 tonne payload capability (plus three tonnes/11% more volume than its competition), the A350F serves all cargo markets (Express, general cargo, special cargo…) and is in the large freighter category the only new generation freighter aircraft ready for the enhanced 2027 ICAO CO ₂ emissions standards.”

CMA CGM will also apply to launch an airline – its current four aircraft are operated by Air Belgium – and it has filed an application for an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) with the French Civil Aviation Authority.

The new aircraft will be registered in France and will be based at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport.

In November, Air Lease became the first company to sign up for the new freighter model.

Then last week, Singapore Airlines (SIA) signed a LOI to purchase seven A350F freighter aircraft, and Air France KLM signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) for four A350Fs and purchase rights for an additional four aircraft.


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