In the world of aviation, competition is a constant force. With the aftermath of the COVID pandemic, many airlines have been making a strong comeback, showing robust profit margins. Furthermore, the demand for freight services has been on the rise, necessitating the need for high-end aircraft in this sector.
In this narrative journey, we’re about to embark on, we’ll delve into the realm of two exciting newcomers in the freighter aircraft segment: A350 vs 777, The Airbus A350 Freighter, and the Boeing B777-8 Freighter.
These aircraft are born from the same lineage as their passenger counterparts but have been reimagined for the world of cargo transportation. Our exploration will take us through the fascinating similarities and differences between these two aircraft, examining their capacity, operational viability, and what they bring to the airlines that operate them.
The A350F can be seamlessly integrated into airline fleets, delivering step-change efficiency in terms of volume, range, and payload.
Airbus is proud to bring the A350F as the only choice for the future of the large widebody freighter market
The A350F, as proclaimed by Airbus, possessed an almost otherworldly ability: it showcased an unbeatable fuel efficiency that set a new benchmark for its competitors. With awe-inspiring prowess, it achieved a staggering 40% reduction in fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions when compared to the venerable 747F.
But the brilliance of the A350F didn’t end there. It was a revelation in seamless integration for airline fleets. As if answering the prayers of airlines worldwide, this aircraft seamlessly joined its ranks, ready to revolutionize air travel. Its introduction marked a step-change in aviation efficiency, touching every aspect of the industry.
Boeing’s 777x Aircraft and the Evolution of Air Freight
Boeing is keeping pace with advancements in aviation, showcasing its much-anticipated Boeing 777x aircraft, currently in the testing phase. Responding to Qatar Airways’ call, Boeing is exploring the development of a 777X-based freighter to replace the existing 777Fs.
This cutting-edge aircraft boasts next-generation avionics and technology, featuring a powerful engine that significantly elevates its performance. The extended wing structure not only enhances aerodynamics, reducing drag during cruising for improved fuel efficiency but also contributes to lower fuel consumption.
Introducing the 777-8 Freighter, Boeing extends its freighter family as the world’s most capable and fuel-efficient freighter, aligning with sustainability goals. The Boeing freighter family ensures optimal payload capacity and range capabilities, all while maintaining superior economics. This includes the high-volume 747-8 Freighter and the long-range 777 Freighter, solidifying Boeing’s commitment to delivering innovative solutions for the future of air freight.
|Boeing 777-8F vs Airbus A350F – Specifications
|Maximum take-off weight (MTOW)
|Cargo capacity main deck
|30 pallets main deck,
12 in lower hold
|30 pallets main deck,
12 in the lower hold
|Total cargo volume
|Net revenue payload
|2x Rolls-Royce Trent XWB
|2x General Electric GE9X
Boeing 777-8F and A350F Capacity
The A350F is derived from the A350-1000 and the 777-8F will have the key features of Boeing’s 777X design, including its carbon-fiber wing – the longest single composite part ever developed for an aircraft. The 777x vs A350 is unique in technology.
The 777-8F will be slightly larger than the A350F, with a marginally longer fuselage, taller height, and a wider wingspan. At 70.8m, the A350F will be slightly shorter than the 73.7 m-long passenger A350-1000.
On cargo payload and range, Airbus says the A350F will carry 109,000kg over 4,700nm. Boeing’s data notes the 777-8F will carry 112,300kg over 4,410nm.
And while the A350F’s main-deck cargo hold will have capacity for 30 pallets (measuring 244 x 318cm), with another 12 of the same size in the lower hold, the 777X will carry 31 pallets (again 244 x 318cm) on the main deck, and 13 in its lower hold. Essentially, the 777-8F will carry slightly more cargo, but the A350F will be able to fly further.
Boeing 777-8F and A350F efficency
Airbus stands to gain significant advantages by promptly introducing the A350F into service, recognizing the absence of a compelling cargo aircraft in its portfolio. Leveraging the already-established certification of the A350 family further reinforces its position.
In contrast, Airbus A350 vs Boeing 777. Boeing adopts a more measured approach, as the continued reception of orders for the 777F allows for sustained production over the next five years. This strategy provides a smoother transition toward the eventual production of the 777-8F.
The European aircraft manufacturer highlights that the A350 F will feature a 17% increase in revenue cargo volume and a payload capacity of 3,000kg greater than the current generation Boeing’s 777-9F.
In contrast, Boeing asserts that Boeing’s 777-9F will outperform the current Boeing 777F by carrying 17% more revenue payload. Boeing aims to provide the “highest payload and long-range capability” to explore new markets while ensuring a balance of “low operating cost with high reliability.”
Airbus emphasizes the A350 F unparalleled space for customers, claiming an 11% volume increase that accommodates an additional 5 pallets. The A350 F boasts a lighter Maximum Takeoff Weight of 30 tonnes and an impressive 99.5% operational reliability.
Further setting it apart, the Airbus A350 F features a cargo side door that surpasses competitors in size. Additionally, it promises a 20% reduction in fuel burn, contributing to enhanced efficiency and sustainability.
Airbus stands to gain significant advantages by promptly introducing the A350 F into service, recognizing the absence of a compelling cargo aircraft in its portfolio. Leveraging the already-established certification of the A350 family further reinforces its position.
In contrast, Boeing adopts a more measured approach, as the continued reception of orders for Boeing’s 777-9F allows for sustained production over the next five years. This strategy provides a smoother transition toward the eventual production of Boeing’s 777-9F.
B777-8F and A 350F orders as of Nov 2023
Currently, both freighter versions of these aircraft are pending. The Airbus A350, initially known for its passenger variant, is already operational in the market, catering efficiently to the passenger segment. Airbus is now extending its capabilities by developing the freighter version, scheduled for its maiden flight in 2026. Since its introduction in July 2021, Airbus has secured 39 firm orders for the A350F, with the unveiling of the inaugural aircraft’s livery at the Paris Air Show.
On the Boeing front, the 777-8F aircraft is undergoing a transition from the passenger to the freighter version. The cargo variant, 777-8F, is anticipated to be introduced in 2028. In contrast, the passenger version, 777-8, does not have a confirmed timeline. Qatar Airways, a major customer, has placed orders for approximately 74 aircraft, with additional orders from various other airlines, totaling around 90 aircraft as of 2023. Boeing currently leads in terms of order volume compared to Airbus.