CMA CGM Air Cargo has expanded its aircraft orders with an additional four Airbus 350Fs and one extra Boeing B777-200F plane set to enter its fleet in the next two years following the breakdown of its partnership with Air France-KLM

The cargo airline said the orders were part of an acceleration of its development, alongside the launch of a transpacific route between Hong Kong, Seoul, and Chicago later this year following the delivery of its first B777F in June. 

A second route will also connect China and North America in the fourth quarter of 2024 once a second B777F has been delivered, with flights to be operated by the company’s partner airline Atlas Air. 

The additional aircraft orders mean that the airline now has eight A350Fs set to join its fleet by 2026, joining the three A330Fs already in service, and a total of three B777Fs on order, joining the two it already uses for services from Paris to Hong Kong and Paris to Shanghai. 

Damien Mazaudier, CEO of CMA CGM Air Cargo, said the transpacific expansion marked a “turning point” in the company’s history, he said: “This lane opening will enable us to offer even more destinations to our customers on major routes. 

“Today’s announcement represents a new step in the development of our business, which we aim to make global, and will take another step forward again in 2026 with the arrival of the A350F, the most environmentally friendly aircraft on the market.” 

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CMA CGM Air Cargo, the airline subsidiary of shipping giant CMA CGM, launched operations in 2021 and began a partnership with Air France-KLM in May 2022, effective from April 2023, to develop their cargo capacities together. 

However, in January, the two companies announced that the agreement would be coming to an end in March 2024 and cited a “tight regulatory environment” for the swift closure of the partnership. 

Despite this, the airline’s investment into a larger A350F fleet, an aircraft it is set to be the launch customer for, shows that the company is determined to become a major player in the air cargo market. 

While the company did not disclose what routes would be serviced by the A350Fs, it said that the aircraft would enable it to “operate a global network”, hinting that it may begin flights outside of its hub at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.