Airbus targets Boeing’s freight fortress with new jet

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Paris

Airbus is canvassing airline support for a potential freighter version of its A350 passenger jet, targeting a key stronghold of US rival Boeing as e-commerce lifts demand for transported goods, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The jet would be the first freighter spin-off of the latest generation of carbon-fibre jets and help stabilise output of wide-body jets that have been badly hit by the COVID-19 crisis.

But a launch depends on identifying enough buyers willing to take a punt on fickle cargo demand in the midst of the aviation industry’s worst downturn, which has trampled airline finances.

“We are always looking at product developments but do not comment on specific programmes,” an Airbus spokesman said.

Air freight demand, which was weak before the COVID-19 crisis.— Reuters