Emirates SkyCargo has leased two new aircraft, with an aim to double its capacity in the next 10 years, as the Dubai airline remains confident about continued growth in demand despite global economic headwinds.
Emirates airline’s cargo arm secured two Boeing 747-400Fs on a long-term wet-lease basis that will join its existing fleet of 11 Boeing 777 freighters, it said on Monday.
The freighters are being deployed to Chicago three times a week, and to Hong Kong nine times a week, with the airline planning to add more than 20 new destinations to its cargo network.
“While the current market volatility may cause others to hesitate, Emirates SkyCargo is pushing full steam ahead with our plans,” Nabil Sultan, divisional senior vice president of Emirates SkyCargo, said.
The two new 747-Fs “will give us immediate capacity, while we wait for delivery of five new 777Fs in 2024 and 2025, and 10 777-300ERs to roll out our conversion programme over the next five years”.
In November, Emirates said it expected to have 18 freighters in its fleet by 2024 as it was studying the expansion of its facilities at Dubai World Central airport to accommodate an anticipated rise in exports and imports.
Emirates SkyCargo currently transports cargo to 150 destinations across six continents, and its all-wide-body fleet comprises Boeing 777s, Airbus A380s and dedicated freighters, including Boeing 777-Fs and 747-Fs.
Its performance in the first half of the 2022 financial year was "excellent" with growth in demand, particularly for pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, foodstuffs and manufacturing-related goods, Mr Sultan said at the time.
Emirates is expected to release its annual financial results for its fiscal year that ended on March 31, this month.
Emirates SkyCargo is also investing to develop new products and to speed up digitisation and technology innovation, Mr Sultan said on Monday.
“The new aircraft mean we can expand our freighter network and amplify the connectivity with the main Emirates network," he said. "The new fleet mix also gives us more flexibility to serve our different customers even better.”