Emirates SkyCargo will add two new production freighters and convert four passenger aircraft in response to rising cargo demand.
The Dubai-hubbed carrier signed a purchase agreement with Boeing for two B777Fs that will join its fleet in 2022 and also convert four of the airline’s Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft into freighters between 2023 and 2024.
The total investment in the six aircraft is around $1bn, the airline said.
The two new aircraft will be delivered in April and June next year.
For the conversions, the airline has signed an agreement with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for four Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft to be switched to a full freighter configuration.
The agreement also includes an option for further Boeing 777-300ER conversions at a later stage.
The conversion programme will commence in early 2023 and is expected to conclude in 2024 with each aircraft taking up to an estimated five months.
The converted freighters will provide up to 10 additional pallet positions over the Boeing 777F production freighter allowing for transport of more low density cargo including e-commerce goods, Emirates SkyCargo said.
“They will boost the maindeck cargo capacity that Emirates SkyCargo can deploy on its global routes, with a particular focus on trade lanes where volumetric cargo loads tend to be high,” the airline explained.
“The converted aircraft’s payload capabilities are very close to those of the Boeing 777-F production freighters and the twin-engine aircraft will be more efficient per tonne of cargo carried than the industry standard freighters.”
Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive, Emirates Airline and Group said: “The last two years have put the spotlight on the importance of supply chain connectivity and the availability of air cargo capacity to global communities and economies.
“Emirates plays a key role in making essential goods available to customers and consumers globally through the capacity available on our wide-body fleet, the reach of our global network, and the advanced infrastructure at our Dubai hu
“Today, we are delighted to announce an investment of $1bn to further expand our freighter capacity. This underscores our commitment to supporting our customers’ requirements, and reflects our confidence in our future growth and status as one of the largest airline cargo carriers in the world.”
The carrier currently operates a fleet of 10 Boeing 777 freighters and 16 mini-freighters – B777s with seats removed.