FedEx Buys Boeing 777 Freighters, Cancels Airbus A380 Order

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FedEx said yesterday it will acquire 15 new Boeing 777 Freighter aircraft, with options to purchase an additional 15 of the big twins. FedEx's decision to purchase the 777F was made after Airbus announced significant delays in delivery of the A380 cargo version; FedEx also said it had notified Airbus that it has cancelled its order for 10 A380-800Fs. "Global demand for air cargo and express services continues to grow rapidly and FedEx has made significant investments in our network to meet customers’ needs and fulfill our business objectives. Therefore, it was necessary and prudent for us to acquire the Boeing 777 Freighter," said Frederick W. Smith, chairman, president and chief executive officer, FedEx Corp. FedEx Express continues to be Airbus' largest wide-body airplane customer and will add additional new and used Airbus wide-body aircraft to its fleet in coming years. Six new A300-600 aircraft are scheduled to join the FedEx fleet in 2007.

The airplane FedEx is buying from Boeing is the world’s largest twin-engine cargo aircraft with a range of more than 6,100 nm and a revenue payload capacity of 171,000 pounds. When compared to the MD-11F, FedEx's current primary long-haul airplane, the 777 represents a 2,200-nm increase in range and an additional 8,500 pounds of revenue payload. To FedEx, the difference means more nonstop, point-to-point routes with shorter flight times. “The Boeing 777F will allow FedEx Express to fly directly between major markets and hubs in Asia, Europe and the U.S. with more freight and in less time than it takes today, improving fuel efficiency and lowering total operating costs,” said David J. Bronczek, president and chief executive officer, FedEx Express. FedEx expects to take delivery of four of the 777 aircraft in calendar year 2009, eight in 2010 and the remaining three in 2011.