Boeing Seeks Exemption From Looming ICAO 767 Production Ban

Credit: Boeing

SINGAPORE—Boeing is seeking a potential exemption from International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) environmental emissions regulations that will effectively ban the production of Boeing’s current model 777F and 767-300F by 2028.

The company is also evaluating the longer-term development of a cargo variant of the 787 but having just launched the 777-8F freighter version earlier this month, is eager to exploit the cheaper option of extending production of the commercial 767 model for as long as possible. The line is also supported by the KC-46A tanker version of the 767, production of which is currently set to continue through 2029.

“When you look at the utilization [of the 767-300F], as opposed to the next model of aircraft that may be compliant beyond that, it actually has a lower carbon footprint than that,” says Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Stan Deal. “The ICAO rules allow for an exemption, and you may see an exemption granted for that airplane or you may not—we are preparing for either eventuality.”

Deal, who was commenting on the eve of the first day of the Singapore Airshow, adds that “a 787 (freighter) makes a lot of sense. No announcements have been made.” In the meantime, he hints that the ongoing surge in new freighter orders is likely to continue with additional deals in 2022—particularly for the 767. The midsize freighter received another boost in late December when express cargo carrier UPS ordered 19.

The UPS deal took gross orders for production Boeing freighters to 80 for 2021, 36 of which were 767-300Fs. The UPS agreement followed a flurry of 767-300F orders over the past two years from other cargo operators including archrival FedEx Express, an order rate that will ensure production remains at three per month—currently the highest for any Boeing widebody.

The company’s freight sector forecast has predicted air cargo traffic will double over the next two decades, triggering a demand for more than 2,400 new production and converted freighters. Of these, it expects 500 will be new-build medium-widebodies, 400 medium and large widebody conversions and 850 new-build large widebody freighters.

“I think you’ll see some orders through the year, and as we get to the point where we have got to take a decision we’ll make it,” adds Deal.

Guy Norris

Guy is a Senior Editor for Aviation Week, covering technology and propulsion. He is based in Colorado Springs.