Airbus Launching OpenCargoLab

Airbus A350F Freighter

Airbus has introduced the OpenCargoLab, a collaborative venture with prominent partners from the airline, logistics, and handling industries, aimed at enhancing the entire airfreight ecosystem. The initiative brings together experts from CHAMP Cargosystems, Fraport, KLM Cargo, Kuehne+Nagel, and Swissport to develop digital and resource-efficient concepts, thereby fostering more resilient and efficient airfreight processes.

Unveiled at the IATA World Cargo Symposium in Hong Kong from March 12 to 14, the OpenCargoLab aligns with Airbus’ projections, foreseeing a 50% growth in the global freight market by 2042. In the Asia-Pacific region, characterized by rapid economic expansion, there is significant potential for modern airfreight operations leveraging digital capabilities. Airbus anticipates a demand for approximately 400 widebody freighters, encompassing both new builds and conversions, in Asia-Pacific over the next two decades, representing over a quarter of the global demand for cargo aircraft weighing above 40 tonnes.

Within the framework of the OpenCargoLab, Airbus will explore digital solutions such as augmented reality and robotics to enhance data connectivity and optimize the transportation of hazardous goods.

Furthermore, the OpenCargoLab will contribute to the ongoing design and application development of the A350F. Just two and a half years post-launch, the A350F, an all-new, next-generation freighter, has amassed 50 firm orders from nine customers, underscoring Airbus’ expanding presence in this fiercely competitive segment.

To validate the insights generated by the OpenCargoLab, Airbus is establishing an innovative test field at its Cargo competence site in Bremen, Germany, renowned for its development of cargo loading systems and cargo door actuation systems. The site’s new Cargo Test Center, slated for completion by the end of 2024, will feature, among other facilities, a replica of the A350F fuselage equipped with the large cargo door, facilitating thorough testing and validation of new technology concepts.

Image: (c) Airbus SAS 2023