Taking centre stage

The big news this past month was the announcement from express delivery giant, FedEx that it placed an order for 50 B767 Freighters (and options for another 50) and 18 B777 Freighters.


The big news this past month was the announcement from express delivery giant, FedEx that it placed an order for 50 B767 Freighters (and options for another 50) and 18 B777 Freighters. Representing the largest ever order for the aircraft type, it was of course nothing particularly earth shattering by Middle East carrier standards, but that’s a completely different story.

Certainly the order also says something about the way the industry moving – the integrators continue to thrive as most mainstream cargo carriers watch the growth of global cargo market chart straight out nearly as flat as a runway. For FedEx they’ve obviously done their homework and the aircraft remains for them an excellent replacement for their ageing MD-10s (similar payload to the MD-10, but improved reliability, a 30 per cent increase in fuel efficiency and at least a 20 per cent reduction in unit operating costs) and at some point its A300s. With the new deal, the express carrier now holds firm orders for a substantial,106 B767s.

For Boeing this is also obviously quite an interesting and beneficial development, partly because interest in the B767F had been waning of late. The B767 production line has been chugging along for nearly 35 years, virtually unheard of in aircraft manufacturing. It pretty much means these aircraft rolling off the production line are pure cream in Boeing’s coffee having long ago covered all development costs, unlike – dare we mention – the B747-8F and Intercontinental, although those are really only half an example since they were based, at least in part, on the existing B747-400s.