Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


UPS begins phaseout of older MD-11 cargo jets

UPS has begun a planned retirement of aging MD-11 freighters as part of a plan to renew the fleet with more fuel-efficient aircraft that also coincides with new measures to reduce costs as shipping volumes decline.

The parcel freight giant’s operating profit fell 3.3% in the fourth quarter on lower revenues as high inflation, the Ukraine war and COVID restrictions in China combined to slow global economic growth.

The earnings report included the news that UPS (NYSE: UPS) will retire six of its 42 MD-11s this year. The first aircraft was pulled from the fleet on Jan. 2, said UPS Airlines spokesman Jim Mayer. The 26-year-old plane arrived at Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, a major desert storage site for aircraft, the same day, according to flight tracking site FlightAware.

The MD-11s will be replaced by 28 factory-built 767-300 cargo jets previously ordered from Boeing, seven of which are scheduled for delivery this year.

The twin-engine 767s offer lower operating costs, with better reliability and fewer carbon emissions than the tri-engine MD-11s.

“Our MD-11s have served us well since we took delivery of the first aircraft in 2001. They were a mainstay on international routes, and more recently have operated primarily in the U.S. We will begin replacing them with new, more efficient 767s, with deliveries set to begin later this year,” Jim Joseph, president of UPS Airlines, said in a statement provided to FreightWaves.

The MD-11 has a maximum payload of more than 207,000 pounds, with space for 26 containers on the main deck and 13 in the lower hold. The 767 is smaller, with a 132,000-pound payload capability and room for 24 large containers and seven lower-deck shipping units. It also has a shorter range.

The express delivery company quickly adjusted its network during the fourth quarter in response to lower international volumes. Average export daily volumes declined 4% from the prior year, led by a 10.3% drop in shipments out of Asia. UPS said it canceled more than 200 flights originating from China and Hong Kong, which allowed it to utilize 98% of available capacity on Asia outbound flights while maintaining service levels.

Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.


UPS places repeat order with Boeing for 767 freighters