SINGAPORE/PARIS, Dec 15 (Reuters) – Singapore Airlines (SIA) (SIAL.SI) has thrown its weight behind efforts by Airbus (AIR.PA) to penetrate the booming air cargo market, signing a provisional deal to buy seven A350 freighters and become the first major airline operator of the plane.

The backing from a blue-chip Asian carrier is a fillip for the European planemaker’s efforts to break into a lucrative niche long dominated by its U.S. archrival Boeing (BA.N).

Deliveries will begin in the fourth quarter of 2025, the airline said on Wednesday. It did not provide a value for the order.

A letter of intent includes a quid pro quo, however, allowing the airline to swap part of the order for 15 A320neo jetliners and two A350-900 passenger versions that it had previously ordered from Airbus and remain to be delivered. Read more