On September 3, 2020, UPS received its 17th Boeing 747-8F. Three more aircraft are going to be delivered by the end of the year.

While the pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the aviation industry, airlines like Qantas and British Airways have retired the Queen of the Skies after her 50-year reign. The same, however, could not be said about United Parcel Service (UPS) in the United States.

The cargo carrier has received a brand new 747-8F (registered as N622UP) and has 12 more on order as of September 4, 2020. The new aircraft, once delivered, will bring the UPS royal fleet up to a total of 29 aircraft.

The new aircraft flew from Everett to Louisville  where UPS received it after a three and a half hour flight on September 3, 2020,.

Aside from the 747s, the parcel service company also has six 767-300F’s on order, as the cargo carrier continues its fleet expansion. Despite the global pandemic, in Q2 2020, UPS increased its revenue to $20.4 billion (by 13.4%) from the second quarter of 2019.

Many airlines and freighter companies have reported the unprecedented growth in cargo revenues even after cargo demand took an initial dive in the early spring of 2020. A lot of the passenger flights transported cargo using the aircraft’s ‘belly capacity’ before the pandemic. But since the start of COVID-19, global air traffic has effectively reduced by 90% while prices for air freight services saw a near 70% increase.

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The month of June marked the end of “the craziest half year in air cargo” after many of the aviation industry’s downfalls ultimately proved to be profitable, WorldACD proclaimed on July 25, 2020.
 

Since the International Air Transport Association does not expect the air traffic to come back until at least 2024, many cargo companies find the pandemic an excellent time to expand their fleets.