Package delivery company UPS has ordered 19 Boeing 767 freighters, adding to a record year for freighter sales at Boeing.
UPS will take delivery of the aircraft between 2023 and 2025, Boeing said in a statement on December 21, 2021.
Boeing highlighted that UPS was the launch customer for the 767 Freighter back in 1995, and has ordered a total of 91 of the aircraft since then. The UPS fleet currently comprises 236 Boeing freighters including the 747, 757, 767 and MD-11.
“These new jets will enable UPS to meet expected near-term and long-term cargo demand with the proven economics, reliability and flexibility that are synonymous with the 767 Freighter,” Ihssane Mounir, Boeing senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing, commented in the press release.
It’s been a busy year for orders for freight aircraft. Demand for air cargo has increased due to supply chain issues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, while surging demand for eCommerce is also driving the market. The grounding of passenger aircraft, which usually transport freight in their bellies, has also led to more demand for pure freighter services.
So far in 2021, Boeing has won 80 firm orders for new widebody freighters and over 80 orders for converted freighters. Boeing describes it as a record-breaking year.
“This latest order for 19 jets bookends an incredible year for the Boeing Freighter family,” Mounir said.
In 2021, Boeing has announced new passenger-to-freighter conversion lines for the 737 in the United States, Britain and China. It has also revealed talks with customers over a planned freighter variant of its 777X passenger plane, with Qatar Airways looking like a strong candidate as a buyer.
Rival manufacturer Airbus has also had a busy year on the cargo front, launching a freighter variant of the A350 in July 2021 and unveiling the first order for the plane from lessor ALC at the Dubai Airshow in November.
Over the last month Airbus has signed up several other customers for the aircraft, including Air France-KLM and Singapore Airlines (SIA1) (SINGY), with CMA CGM Group also firming up an order for four A350Fs.
Data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) released on December 2, 2021 showed demand for air freight was still above pre-crisis levels, up 9.4% in October 2021 compared to October 2019. IATA is expecting a strong end to the year for the air freight market.