UPS Purchases New Boeing 747-8 Jumbo Super Jets

October 29
5:57 AM 2016

Sandy Springs-based UPS is buying 14 new Boeing 747-8 jumbo cargo jets, the first new planes to join its fleet since 2013. UPS said Thursday it will get the new aircraft between 2017 and 2020, and has options for another 14 jets in the future.

Adding the larger jumbo jets will allow UPS to move other planes in its fleet, including the Boeing 747-400, to more efficient routes.

The shipping giant has more than 500 aircraft in its fleet. The new 747-8 freighters can carry 34 shipping containers on the main deck and 14 in lower compartments, with capacity to hold about 30,000 packages.

UPS has seen growth in demand over the last few years, which is driving its decision to buy more planes. Some of the biggest growth has come during the busy holiday delivery season.

This year, UPS said it expects to see a 14 percent increase in deliveries between Black Friday and New Year's Eve, and is planning to deliver a record 700 million packages over the holidays. UPS is also hiring seasonal workers for the holiday season.

The company normally delivers about 18 million packages a day, but expects to deliver more than 30 million packages a day on 13 days before Christmas. The busiest day is expected to be Monday Dec. 19.

UPS made the announcements Thursday during a conference call on its quarterly financial results. Lower fuel surcharges and changes in currency exchange rates hurt its revenue growth, as it reported a 1 percent increase in profit to nearly $1.3 billion in the third quarter.

The company increased revenue to $14.9 billion, up 4.9 percent in the quarter compared with the same period of last year. But operating expenses grew by 5.2 percent to $12.9 billion, the company disclosed Thursday morning.

The company says its U.S. domestic revenue increased by 4.8 percent in the quarter, but domestic operating profit fell by half a percent.

Quarterly international revenue was up 2.2 percent. The company said its international operating profit had a record increase of nearly 14 percent, driven by increased rates, volume and efficiency.

The supply chain and freight business at UPS grew revenue by 8.1 percent in the third quarter due to its acquisition last year of Coyote Logistics. But amid weak market conditions, supply chain and freight operating profit fell by 5.9 percent.

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