Emirates SkyCargo is going for aggressive growth, with the cargo division of Emirates planning to double its capacity over the next decade.
And it’s kicking off the move, hiring two aircraft to help.
Emirates SkyCargo Boeing 777F – Image, Emirates.
In the short term, Emirates SkyCargo has added two Boeing 747-400Fs to its freighter fleet, adding deployable capacity whilst showing confidence in the global cargo market.
The airline has not identified whom Boeing 747-400Fs have been leased from besides saying they have been secured under a wet lease.
These aircraft will be deployed to Chicago and China.
Emirates had previously used Boeing 747-400F aircraft, ceasing its use in 2017 to focus on the Boeing 777F platform.
In the medium to long term, the airline is expecting the delivery of 15 freighter aircraft to join its fleet from announced orders and its freighter conversion program.
There will be a further capacity increase in the belly-hold capacity too for SkyCargo to use, with Emirates due to take delivery of passengers Airbus A350s in 2024, along with the expected Boeing 777-X aircraft in 2025.
The moves will allow SkyCargo to double its existing capacity and expand its network, with 20 new destinations added to its network, with delivery capable both through its passenger fleet (Airbus A380, Boeing 777-200LR and Boeing 777-300ER) and its cargo fleet (Boeing 777F, Boeing 747-400F), as well as the upcoming capacity (Boeing 777-300ER/F from its conversion project, Airbus A350 and Boeing 777-X).
Nabil Sultan, Divisional Senior Vice President, Emirates SkyCargo, said:
“While the current market volatility may cause others to hesitate, Emirates SkyCargo is pushing full steam ahead with our plans. The medium to long term projections for global air cargo show an upward trajectory of between 3-5%. Combine that Dubai’s strategy to double its foreign trade where multi-modal logistics will play a big role, and the economic activity happening in markets around the Gulf, West Asia, and Africa, and the opportunity for Emirates SkyCargo is clear.
“The 2 new 747-Fs which we have leased will give us immediate capacity, while we wait for delivery of 5 new 777Fs in 2024 and 2025, and 10 777-300ERs to roll out of our conversion program over the next 5 years. We believe even these additional planes will not be sufficient. By then, we’ll have the MRO set-up to quickly and efficiently scale-up our freighter conversion program if we needed to.”
“The new aircraft mean we can expand our freighter network and amplify the connectivity with the main Emirates network. The new fleet mix also gives us more flexibility to serve our different customers even better. Emirates SkyCargo is also investing to develop new products, and to speed up digitisation and technology innovation. It is our ambition to lead the market in delivering specialist solutions that are fast, reliable, flexible, and efficient. More exciting developments to come. Stay tuned.”
Filling in the capacity gap
It seems these new aircraft haven’t been hired, then made to sit around waiting for their next turn, with three trips to Chicago a week, as well as nine flights to China booked for them – a total of 12 return legs a week.
It also seems that the airline is striking whilst there is capacity in the market – as the excess capacity from between 2020 to 2022 is soaked back into normal operations, with Pre-Freighters becoming passenger aircraft and those who spun up airlines with anything that was parked find its harder to compete as normal trade routes re-establish themselves.
We’ll see sooner or later if the Emirates capacity bet pays off.
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