Emirates (EK, Dubai International) is planning to place an order for new-generation widebody freighters - either A350Fs or B777-8Fs - within the next four years, Senior Vice-President (Emirates SkyCargo) Nabil Sultan told Bloomberg, all the while seeing its large fleet of B777-300(ER)s as a valuable feedstock for P2F conversions.

"We have a lot of opportunities to convert a lot of these aircraft," he said. "We will evaluate, hopefully by 2027, whether we require a different mix to what we have already".

Emirates has orders for both new-generation types in passenger configuration. It plans to add fifty A350-900s and 115 B777-9s. Among its regional rivals, Etihad Airways has ordered seven A350Fs, while Qatar Airways has a commitment for thirty-four B777-8Fs, the ch-aviation fleets module shows.

The airline currently operates eleven B777-200Fs, with five more on order and due for delivery in 2024-2025. It also wet-leases one B747-400(BCF), one B747-400(BDSF), and one B747-400FSCD from Moldova's Aerotranscargo, and one more B747-400FSCD from Kalitta Air. Last year, the carrier increased its conversion commitment with Israel Aerospace Industries to ten B777-300ERs, although none has entered the conversion process just yet. Emirates' passenger B777-300ER fleet comprises 123 units.

Sultan stressed that despite the recent drop in cargo rates, they were still 20% above the pre-pandemic level. The decreases have also bottomed out and Emirates SkyCargo sees itself as being on a path of stable growth now.