Container shipping and logistics group CMA CGM has ordered four newbuild A350 freighters to add to its new air cargo arm’s rapidly expanding airline fleet and is reportedly going to operate them itself on its own Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC).
The French group said that “with a carrying capacity of more than 100 metric tonnes and a range of nearly 9,000 kilometres, the A350F will enable us to strengthen our long-haul offer, to better meet (customers’) needs”.
Launched in February 2021, the group’s CMA CGM Air Cargo division, currently has a fleet of four Airbus A330-200 freighters, operated by Air Belgium, which will be boosted next year by the arrival of two Boeing 777 freighter aircraft, starting in spring 2022.
It’s unclear when the A350 freighters will be delivered, although the newly launched freighter version from Airbus has yet to begin production and it has been reported that the first aircraft of the type will be delivered around 2025.
CMA CGM is the second customer to announce a commitment to the A350 freighter, following a commitment this month from leasing group Air Lease Corporation for seven A350Fs – its first cargo aircraft type.
CMA CGM said: “Equipped with the latest technologies and in particular with optimised fuel consumption, the A350F will be, upon delivery, the cargo aircraft with the best environmental performance in the sector, particularly in terms of CO2 emissions.”
The new aircraft order comes as CMA CGM Group announced a near 10-fold increase in group profits to $5.6bnduring the third quarter of the year following a sharp rise in revenues from its shipping operations. Revenues from shipping doubled year on year to $12.5bn despite a 2.5% dip in volumes lifted, which the carrier blamed on congestion at terminals and inland infrastructure, which was leading to longer transit times.