UPS orders 60 more air freighters

UPS orders 60 more air freighters

By Joe Baker

By Joe Baker

Senior Editor

It may get noisier at Greater Rockford Airport in the next several months. In fact, most of the current decade will see an increase in cargo flights.

United Parcel Service, which has the largest operation at the airport, announced it has ordered 60 more Airbus freighters, at the pricetage of some $6 billion. It is the biggest aircraft purchase ever by UPS.

Delivery of the new planes will span a nine-year period. UPS said the purchase shows the company’s confidence long term in the growth of its air freight business.

“We remain confident about our long-term customer demand in the United States and abroad,” said Bob Lekites, vice-president of UPS Airlines Operations, based in Louisville, Ky. “And whether it’s in Europe, Asia or Latin America, we need to be prepared to deploy a modern jet freighter that’s flexible enough to operate anywhere,” Lekites said.

Three years ago, UPS ordered 30 Airbus freighters for service in the U.S. The first seven arrived last fall, and 13 more are slated for delivery this year. The aircraft will join a UPS fleet of 238 jets which includes 182 Boeing and 49 McDonnell Douglas planes.

The company’s largest previous aircraft order was for 35 Boeing 757s in 1990, with options on 41 more, according to Patti Hobbs, UPS spokeswoman.

UPS’ order is said to reflect world-wide growth in the package delivery industry. In the third quarter of last year, UPS’ international export volume soared 23 percent, compared with the same period a year earlier.

UPS serves more than 200 countries and territories. Its main U.S. air hub is in Louisville.

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