Which Aircraft Will Rule the Skies: Airbus A350F or Boeing 777-8F? Emirates Weighs Options

Abhishek Nayar

29 Mar 2024

The skies are evolving, and with it, the demands of air cargo transportation are shifting. Emirates, the renowned Dubai-based airline, along with its dedicated airfreight division Emirates SkyCargo, is on the brink of a significant decision: selecting the aircraft that will shape its future fleet development. With the Airbus A350F and Boeing’s 777-8F emerging as front-runners, the airline faces a pivotal choice that will define its operations for years to come.

Evaluating the Contenders & Current Fleet Dynamics

Emirates is meticulously evaluating the Airbus A350F and Boeing 777-8F against a set of stringent criteria tailored to its evolving needs. The emphasis is on acquiring a long-haul, heavy-duty freighter capable of shouldering loads ranging from 110 to 120 tons. This strategic move aligns with Emirates' vision of bolstering its main-deck capacity to complement its existing fleet of Boeing 777-300Fs and repurposed passenger 777-300ERs.

Despite challenges such as delays in engine supply chains, Emirates remains steadfast in its commitment to fleet enhancement. The airline anticipates the arrival of five new 777Fs, slated to replace aging units currently on lease from DAE Capital. This move underscores Emirates' resilience amid market fluctuations, as it navigates through the aftermath of the global pandemic.

Conversion Endeavors & Regional Dynamics

Emirates is not only eyeing new acquisitions but also pursuing strategic conversions to optimize its fleet. The airline is poised to embark on a transformation journey, converting ten passenger 777-300ERs into dedicated freighter configurations. This collaboration with Israel Aircraft Industries signifies Emirates' proactive approach in adapting to industry demands, enhancing cargo capabilities, and future-proofing its operations.

While Emirates deliberates on its future freighter investments, neighboring airlines have already made decisive moves. Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways have committed to next-generation widebody freighters, with Etihad opting for Airbus A350Fs and Qatar Airways securing its position as the launch customer for Boeing 777-8F.


In the dynamic landscape of air cargo transportation, Emirates stands at a crossroads, poised to shape the future of its freighter operations. With the Airbus A350F and Boeing 777-8F vying for supremacy, the airline's decision holds immense significance, not only in terms of fleet expansion but also in reinforcing its position as a global leader in airfreight logistics. As Emirates navigates through this critical juncture, the aviation industry awaits with bated breath to witness which aircraft will ascend to dominate the skies.

In a world where air cargo demand continues to soar, the question remains: Which next-generation freighter will dominate the skies?

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Israel Aerospace Opens India Subsidiary

Preet Palash

28 Mar 2024

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has opened AeroSpace Services India (ASI), its Indian subsidiary in New Delhi.

"The opening of ASI is a strong demonstration of IAI's strong collaboration with the Indian government’s 'Atmanirbhar Bharat'- MAKE IN INDIA vision. This also shows the commitment to the strong partnership between IAI and DRDO in developing and supporting advanced systems for the Indian armed forces," the firm said in a statement.

ASI trades in Indian Rupees and is the sole authorized OEM’s Technical Representative for the entire Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missile (MRSAM) system. MRSAM is an advanced and innovative air and missile defense system that provides ultimate protection against a variety of aerial platforms. It is used by the Indian army, air force and navy. The system includes an advanced phased array radar, command and control, mobile launchers, and interceptors with advanced RF seeker. MRSAM is jointly developed by IAI and DRDO for the Indian forces.

IAI's President and CEO, Boaz Levy said, “IAI proudly presents ASI as our first major milestone towards India’s ATMANIRBHAR BHARAT vision on self-reliance. INDIA & ISRAEL’s partnership has witnessed state-of-the-art achievement. This growth and development will create history when our two nations will foster IAI’s technology and India’s talent and expertise in the Defence sector. Together we will make Bharat ATMANIRBHAR”

“Over the past 30 years, IAI has worked closely with our Indian partners collaborating on some of the latest technologies. Our new ASI office will allow us to further that commitment,” said Danny Lauber, CEO Aerospace Services India (ASI). “We have a fabulous team of local professionals, and we are working together with our partners in the public and private sectors on the ground,” he added.

ASI has a workforce of approximately 50 employees, with 97% being Indian nationals. Headquartered in Delhi, ASI's strategically located branches extend its services across the entirety of the Indian subcontinent, reaffirming its commitment to nationwide coverage and customer satisfaction.

With its new facilities on the ground, ASI can significantly reduce turnaround times for repairs and service operations, ensuring swift and efficient support to our esteemed customers. Additionally, by operating locally, ASI is committed to reducing the cost of services and repairs, thereby providing tangible benefits to its valued customers.

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Blue Dart to Offer 20-hour Delivery from Gift City

Preet Palash

28 Mar 2024

Blue Dart has launched its facility in GIFT City, Gujarat, tailored to meet customer demands offering a 20-hour delivery service from key metropolitan cities, ensuring a next-day delivery commitment.

The new facility is in World Trade Centre, GIFT City Complex.

Commenting on this expansion, Balfour Manuel, Managing Director, Blue Dart, stated, "The inauguration of Blue Dart’s GIFT City facility signifies yet another milestone in our quest to redefine the logistics landscape. We are committed to providing best-in-class services and becoming the preferred logistics partner for all our customers' shipping needs. We aim to enhance our market presence and capitalize on customer outreach opportunities at the global level. Blue Dart's venture into the contemporary financial ecosystem of GIFT City will enable us to support businesses and generate value for our customers."

Blue Dart connects its fleet of 8 Boeing aircraft to provide express connectivity to GIFT City in Ahmedabad from all major metropolitan areas. It has a fleet of over 12,000 on-ground vehicles including 460 E-vehicles, supported by 2,253 facilities nationwide. As part of the DHL Group’s DHL eCommerce Solutions division, Blue Dart extends its reach to over 220 countries and territories globally.

Blue Dart had also recently announced the launch of a ground-breaking Unified Shipping API Software Platform. This platform is tailored specifically to empower Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as well as Large Enterprises across India, catering to all their logistics requirements.

It is designed to address the distinctive challenges faced by small, medium, and large establishments in managing their First Mile Dispatches through Digitization, with a focus on operational efficiency, the company had said.

Blue Dart planned to integrate the software platform offered by eShipz.com into its existing logistics infrastructure. This integration will provide access to advanced dispatch tools, ensuring seamless connectivity with sales platforms, marketplaces, order management systems, warehouse management systems, and enterprise resource planning systems of shippers.

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Delta Tops Airline Brand Report, IndiGo Leads Too

Preet Palash

28 Mar 2024

The world’s top 5 most valuable airline brands logged brand value growths of at least 11% while IndiGo leads from India, according to a new report by Brand Finance.

American brand Delta (brand value up 21% to USD10.8 billion) retained its top position as the world’s most valuable airline brand for the sixth consecutive year. Similarly, other American brands, American Airlines (brand value up 21% to USD10.2 billion), United Airlines (brand value up 11% to USD8.7 billion) and Southwest Airlines (brand value up 15% to USD5.4 billion), kept their places in 2nd, 3rd and 5th. Completing the world’s top 5 most valuable airline brands, UAE brand Emirates (brand value up 30% to USD6.6 billion) defended its title as the world’s fourth most valuable airline brand.

The strongest airline brands in the world are ANA (brand value down 15% to USD2 billion), followed by Indigo (brand value up 26% to USD1.1 billion) and Emirates. ANA retains its first place with a brand strength rating of AAA-, while Indigo and Emirates surged from sixteenth and twelfth positions, respectively, the previous year.

The largest brand value improvements are by British Airways, Jet2.com and Emirates. They demonstrated impressive double-digit brand value increases in 2024, reflecting their commitments to excellence, customer satisfaction and strategic brand management in the ever-competitive global airline sector, Brand Finance said.

British Airways and Jet2.com recorded the largest increases in brand value with a 45% climb to USD3.2 billion and a 34% rise to USD949 million, respectively. In comparison, Emirates emerged as the third largest brand value improvement with 30% growth. Jet2.com’s performance is all the more impressive as it has surged past its pre-pandemic brand value, while BA and Emirates have more or less recovered to their pre-pandemic valuations, it added.

With global travel recovering after the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, airline brands in the Middle East have seen a significant rise in traffic, with total traffic in 2023 almost returning to pre-pandemic levels. Middle East aviation was also expected to recover more quickly last year due to factors such as the ongoing expansion of the regional fleet, estimated to be 5.1% annually over the next ten years, a surge in travel to the region owing to the FIFA World Cup, and aggressive campaigns from Saudi Arabia to attract tourists.

With Emirates taking the crown of most valuable Middle Eastern airline brand, Qatar Airways (brand value up 27% to USD3.1 billion) is the 2nd most valuable Middle Eastern brand, maintaining its brand strength rating at AA+. Next in line, Saudia (brand value up 23% to USD797 million) recorded an improvement in brand strength rating from A to A+, ahead of Etihad Airways (brand value up 7% to USD754 million), which retained its brand strength rating of AA.

Savio D’Souza, Valuation Director at Brand Finance, said, “The sector has shown tremendous resilience with brand values for the top 50 brands growing by 39% since 2021, bouncing back to pre-pandemic levels. The outlook is expected to be challenging as supply constraints and an uncertain macroeconomic outlook leading to sectoral growth in the low single digits; It is precisely in these conditions where companies who have optimised their investment in brand will tend to outperform the market.”

In addition to ranking the world’s most valuable airline brands, the Brand Finance Airlines 50 report also ranks the world’s most valuable airport brands. This year, London’s Heathrow Airport has increased its brand value by almost a quarter to reach a total of USD832 million to retake its position as the world’s most valuable airport brand. Last year’s top-ranked airport brand, Paris Aeroport, increased its brand value by only 13% to USD779 million and is now the second most valuable airport brand in the world.

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Vistara to Upgrade its Bali Offering With a Wide Body Plane

Preet Palash

28 Mar 2024

Vistara will upgrade its offering on the Bali route by deploying a wide-body plane instead of a narrow-body one it operated so far.

The airline will deploy Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner plane on the Delhi-Bali route from March 31ST “encouraged by strong demand on the route and an anticipated uptick in the upcoming summer season”

Vistara launched daily, non-stop flights on this route in December, operated thus far by its A321LR aircraft, and has been the only airline offering direct flights between the two cities.

IndiGo will also debut flights to Bali from Bengaluru using its narrow body plane from March 29th, the market leader said last month. The daily direct flight from Bengaluru will cater to the substantial surge in Indian tourists travelling to the island of Bali, the airline had said adding, that IndiGo has already started operations to Jakarta in 2023 and Bali will be its second destination in Indonesia.

Vistara’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner will offer a three-class cabin configuration and is equipped with an in-flight entertainment system with live TV as well as in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity onboard. It also features lie-flat business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration that gives direct aisle access to each customer.

Deepak Rajawat, Chief Commercial Officer, Vistara said, “We are delighted to announce the deployment of our state-of-the-art Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner for flights between Delhi and Bali. This strategic decision to increase capacity underscores Vistara's commitment to optimizing operations in response to the remarkable performance of the Delhi – Bali route and the constant surge in demand for direct connectivity between India and Indonesia. With top-notch amenities, enhanced comfort complemented with sumptuous inflight meals and exceptional service, we are confident that our customers will appreciate the choice of experiencing Vistara’s Dreamliner when flying on this route.”

The Vistara flight will take off from Delhi at 10:40 pm while leaving from Bali at 10:35 am.

The airline currently has a fleet of 69 aircraft, including 53 Airbus A320neo, 10 Airbus A321, and 6 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft and has flown more than 50 million customers since starting operations.

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PLAY Gears Up for Share Capital Increase and Public Offering

Abhishek Nayar

28 Mar 2024

PLAY (Iceland), the innovative Icelandic carrier, has secured approval for a significant boost in its share capital, signaling a strategic move towards strengthening its financial position. With plans for a cash injection from existing shareholders and a public offering of new shares, PLAY is poised to embark on a transformative journey aimed at fortifying its market presence.

Green Light for Expansion & Cash Injection Strategy

At a recent annual general meeting, PLAY obtained the green light to increase its share capital by up to 1.2 billion shares, each valued at a nominal value of ISK1 krona (approximately USD 0.0073). This expansion paves the way for the airline to execute its growth plans and enhance its operational capabilities.

PLAY's statement revealed a dual-pronged approach towards capital infusion. Firstly, one million shares will be allocated to subscription commitments from existing shareholders and other investors, with a subscription rate of ISK4.50 (approximately USD 0.0327) per share, amounting to a substantial ISK4.5 billion (approximately USD 32.7 million). Secondly, a public offering of up to 111,111,112 shares, also priced at ISK4.50 per share, is scheduled for April 9 to 11, aiming to raise up to ISK500 million (approximately USD 3.6 million).

Priority for Existing Shareholders & Strategic Listing Plans

In the event of oversubscription, PLAY has outlined a strategy to ensure fairness and equity among shareholders. Current shareholders not already committed to subscribing for new shares will be accorded priority for subscription, safeguarding their interests and maintaining shareholder equality.

Initially aiming for a listing on Iceland's main stock exchange by the end of February, PLAY has adjusted its timeline. The company now anticipates concluding the uplisting of its shares to the Nasdaq Main Market in Iceland by the end of the second quarter. Progress on this front is reported to be on track, indicating meticulous preparation and strategic foresight.

Financial Prudence Amid Growth & Conclusion

In a proactive move to ensure financial resilience, PLAY announced a pause in fleet growth in mid-February. This strategic decision underscores the company's commitment to maintaining financial liquidity while pursuing expansion opportunities. By balancing growth aspirations with financial prudence, PLAY aims to navigate the volatile aviation landscape with agility and resilience.

PLAY’s forthcoming share capital increase and public offering signify a pivotal chapter in the airline’s growth trajectory. With a clear focus on strengthening its financial foundation and expanding its market reach, PLAY is poised to chart a course towards sustainable success in the dynamic aviation industry. As the company progresses with its strategic initiatives, stakeholders await eagerly to witness the unfolding of PLAY’s next chapter in the skies.

With Inputs from ch-aviation