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UPS Announces Order for 14 Boeing 747-8 Freighters

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UPS Announces Order for 14 Boeing 747-8 Freighters

UPS Announces Order for 14 Boeing 747-8 Freighters
October 27
09:09 2016

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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Roberto Leiro

Roberto Leiro

Airline and Aviation Writer, with a Fascination for Languages and History, Translator, Incurable Planespotter and Aviation Enthusiast.

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4 Comments

  1. Carlos
    Carlos October 27, 11:37

    Talk about a shot in the arm.

  2. James Simms
    James Simms October 27, 20:52

    Throw in the two additional 747-800i’s for the new Air Force One’s

  3. steve
    steve October 28, 11:59

    More orders than the A380 has gotten this year I think. With the options being picked up and some passenger frames ordered, the 747 will live on to fight for a few more years.
    A few years ago it was rumored EK was going to order 100 frames. Would be nice to see EK order 25-50 planes but I dream on.

  4. Gennadius
    Gennadius October 28, 15:38

    Definitely some good, and much needed news.

    The UPS orders are for 3 to 4 per year until 2020, and that could be more or for a longer time frame if they exercise any of their 14 options.

    Add that to the claimed firm commitment of Air Bridge Cargo of 20, 4 of which have been delivered already, and there is solid production at the current rate of 6 per year until 2020. ABC should be taking 2 to 3 per year through 2022 I believe, unless they have unexpected growth. The backlog will not reflect the ABC orders however, as they are firming their orders right around delivery it seems, however that could change in the future.

    Beyond the UPS and ABC orders, there are a few other possibilities.

    There was a conversion by a leasing company, Intrepid Aviation, of 2 773ERs to 2 747-8Fs that happened earlier this month. It is unclear what form this conversion will take, and they have not been added to the firm order count yet.

    The Iran Air order is stated to include 4 747-8i frames, with the rumor being that two of them may be the UN NTUs. I would think there is a possibility that they could take a few more as well.

    The thought from the Chinese firming of 300 frames in late September 2015, which included 50 widebodies, was that the order included 747-8s. The suspicion was that they would be -8i frames, for Air China, since the Chinese president stated that he wanted that plane to become the flagship of the Air China fleet. Since these have not been identified yet, it is possible that it could be for other carriers, and could be for either the freighter or intercontinental versions.

    Additionally, in one of their investor calls earlier this year, Atlas had stated that they were in discussions for a follow up order of -8Fs.

    UPS placing this order is not just well timed for Boeing, in terms of keeping production moving smoothly, but it could also give confidence to other potential customers that Boeing isn’t looking to shutter the line anytime soon. This could help with other orders. If some of these other potential orders come to pass, it should give Boeing the runway it needs to see if the freighter replacement market that they have been talking about really does exist. It will also ensure that if that market is there, then the 747 line should still be up and running to take advantage of it.

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