747-8F First Flight K64878-35_FA252584

MIAMI — Logistics firm UPS has announced today an order for 14 Boeing 747-8 freighters. The agreement also includes purchasing options for 14 additional aircraft.

This new order, with deliveries scheduled between 2017 and 2020, is worth $10.6 billion at list prices if all options are exercised.

“These aircraft are a strategic investment for increased capacity for UPS customers around the globe,” said Brendan Canavan, president, UPS Airlines. “The 747-8 will allow UPS to upsize our network in both new and existing markets.”

The new freighters will be added to the company’s existing operating fleet of 236 aircraft, including 13 Boeing 747-400Fs.

According to UPS, the 747-400F pilots of the company will have a common equipment rating, enabling them to fly both types. The company also highlighted the economies of scale in maintenance and ground handling by operating the 747-8.

“We benefit from the youngest fleet in the industry and we are continuously investing for both operating safety and efficiency,” Canavan said.

Last month, Boeing adjusted the production rate of the 747-8 to just 6 aircraft per year, largely attributed to a slowdown in air cargo demand.

According to the most recent Boeing orders and deliveries information, the airframer has a backlog for nine 747-8 freighters and six 747-8 passenger aircraft. The number includes orders for four 747-8s for defunct Russian carrier Transaero, and two for Nigerian carrier Arik Air, which might not take delivery of these given its current financial condition.

Despite the grim scenario, 2016 has been a positive year for the 747-8 in terms of sales, with orders from Russian carrier AirBridge Cargo for 20 aircraft, announced at the 2016 Farnborough Air Show.

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