IAG Cargo is planning to order 18 Airbus A350-1000 planes, which will enter service starting in 2018 given shareholder approval.
The carrier also holds options for an additional 18 planes.
The Airbus aircraft, combined with the carrier’s recent order of 24 Boeing 787s and the possibility of an additional 18 planes, will form the backbone of IAG’s modernized fleet. The carrier has also made plans to add 12 new A380s into the mix. The B787s and A380s will start entering service in 2013.
Steve Gunning, managing director of IAG Cargo, called the A350 an “extremely cargo-friendly aircraft.” The new planes will feature an additional three pallet spaces than previous IAG planes and will include functionality important to temperature-sensitive goods.
“This announcement, when taken with our existing orders for B787s and A380s,” Gunning said in a statement, “signals clearly to the market that IAG is planning for future requirements in order to deliver the right capacity and capabilities to support our customers’ businesses.”
While IAG Cargo is transforming its fleet, that doesn’t mean the carrier is bullish on increased cargo activity in 2013. In fact, IAG Cargo’s Dave Shepherd recently told American Shipper
the carrier sees a long road ahead.
“We’re very cautious about the rest of the year,” he said. “We’re certainly quite keen to see an uptick in the transatlantic market … but we’re not particularly optimistic of that happening." - Jon Ross