UPS sticks with A380 freighter for now
UPS has agreed with Airbus on a new delivery schedule for its 10 A380 freighter aircraft order, valued at about $2.8 billion, and originally due from 2009 through 2012. The new agreement also allows for cancellation of the order later this year.
Delays to the aircraft forced Airbus to put back its delivery schedule in October, but UPS told American Shipper that it felt the European manufacturer's revised schedule was 'unrealistic.'
Both parties have agreed not to disclose the amended delivery dates or any changes to the financial aspects of the order. 'The important thing is that we did come to an agreement, and that agreement gives us the information to be able to make an appropriate decision,' said Mark Giuffre, a UPS spokesman.
He added that UPS's current order book gives it flexibility within its long-haul fleet, but that the A380F offers 'something new' in terms of doubling cargo capacity especially into restricted areas like China.
'We will make a decision (to continue with the order or not) one way or another by the end of the year,' Giuffre said.
The delays to the A380F led to FedEx in November canceling its order for 10 of the aircraft, replacing it with an order for 15 Boeing 777 freighters with options for 15 more.
UPS plans to use the A380s on long-haul routes currently served by MD-11 and 747 freighters, and earlier this month ordered 27 Boeing 767-300 Extended Range freighters for delivery from 2009 through 2012, which it said was unrelated to its review of the A380F order.
'UPS's decision to purchase the A380 freighter was based on a lengthy evaluation of our future network needs to meet customer demands across a variety of global trade lanes,' said Bob Lekites, UPS's vice president of airline and international operations.
'Those needs still exist and UPS has been carefully evaluating various options since Airbus announced production delays late last year. This agreement will provide us additional time to evaluate our network requirements and make a decision once and for all as to how best to ensure service to our customers.'