EK orders three A310Fs
Emirates is to buy three A310-300 freighters. The deal is the first time the airline has bought its own freighters and the first time it has operated Airbus freighters.
Emirates SkyCargo has signed agreements to buy three A310-300s, which will be converted into freighters by EADS EFW. The deal represents the first time the airline has bought its own freighters and the first time it has operated Airbus freighters. The order also makes Emirates the launch customer for Airbus freighters with side-by-side loading capability of 96”x125” pallets.
At present SkyCargo operates six Boeing 747 freighters, which are all wet leased from Atlas Air. However, the airline has now decided that it needs to add smaller regional freighters to its fleet.
“The new aircraft will provide flexibility and more capacity to our customers; help us rationalize payloads and service key markets better with quicker turnarounds; and enhance Dubai’s role as a regional cargo hub,” says Ram Menen, Emirates’ senior vice president for cargo.
The A310-300Fs, which have a 39 tonne capacity, are expected to enter Emirates’ fleet from the middle of next year – one in July 2005 and the other two in January 2006. “This is a landmark order for Emirates SkyCargo,” noted Menen. “We intend to use the aircraft on key regional routes and high-density cargo markets in the Middle East and African region, the Indian subcontinent, and the Mediterranean region.”
The aircraft will be equipped with Auxiliary Centre Tanks to increase their range, enabling one-stop operations from Dubai to the U.S. and countries in the South Pacific.
Horst Emker, president & CEO of EADS EFW said: “We are very pleased to welcome Emirates SkyCargo as our 20th customer for the increasingly popular A300/A310 wide-body freighter family. It’s a source of great pride to know that converted Airbus aircraft will be playing a crucial part in the growing international freight route structure of a tremendously successful carrier that is Emirates. I know that Emirates SkyCargo will take full advantage of the A310-300 freighter’s great potential.”
The A310F’s capability to use standard cargo containers represents maximum interlining potential with Emirates’ two gigantic A380Fs, expected to enter the fleet in 2008. This will reduce the need to re-package shipments, facilitating rapid transfers, providing quicker service and avoiding damage.