Etihad Airways has firmed up its order with Airbus for seven new generation A350F freighters which will upgrade Etihad's freight capacity.


This order of the A350F sees Etihad expanding its relationship with Airbus, and adding to its existing order of the largest passenger version of A350-1000s, five of which have been delivered.


"In building one of the world's youngest and most sustainable fleets, we are delighted to extend our long-term partnership with Airbus to add the A350 Freighter to our fleet," said Tony Douglas, Group chief executive officer, Etihad Aviation Group.


Unprecedented cargo growth


"This additional cargo capacity will support the unprecedented growth we are experiencing in the Etihad Cargo division," Douglas added, noting that the fuel-efficient aircraft that, in tandem with its A350-1000 in its passenger fleet, supports the airlines' commitment to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.


Christian Scherer, chief commercial officer and Head of Airbus International noted that the new generation large freighter brings benefits in terms of range, fuel efficiency, and CO₂ savings, that support customers by enhancing operational efficiencies at the same time as reducing environmental impact.


Etihad has also firmed up a long-term agreement for Airbus' Flight Hour Services (FHS) to support its entire A350 fleet, maintain aircraft performance, and optimise reliability.


This marks the first agreement for an Airbus FHS contract for an A350 fleet in the Middle East.


A350F has a 109-tonne payload capability and can serve all cargo markets.


The aircraft features a large main deck cargo door, with its fuselage length and capacity optimised around the industry’s standard pallets and containers. 


More than 70% of the airframe of the A350F is made of advanced materials, resulting in a 30-tonne lighter take-off weight.


Airbus said the A350F fully meets ICAO's enhanced CO₂ emissions standards coming into effect in 2027. A350F has so far won 31 firm orders from six customers including Etihad's.