Airbus is studying new-build freighter versions of its A330/A340 family, with the A330-200F expected to be the first model to be developed. A cargo version of the new A340-600 - the largest Airbus model until the advent of the A380 - is also being studied for a potential United Parcel Service (UPS) requirement.

"We think there is a demand for a A330-200 freighter to replace the [McDonnell Douglas] DC-10-30F and [Boeing] MD-11F. We've got the shareholders' agreement to launch," says Airbus chief commercial officer John Leahy. "We need a launch order, but only very few to see it go. We think there's a market for 200 aircraft over the next 10 years."

Meanwhile UPS vice president airline operations Bob Lekites says that a freighter version of the A340-600F was considered for its recent long-range freighter requirement which was met by the MD-11. "During the competition we also looked at the Boeing 747-400F and the A340-600F," he says.

The airline's recent deal for 60 more A300-600Fs and 50 options includes the right to convert to the A340-600F should it so wish.

Source: Flight International