News broke that FedEx is reportedly planning on purchasing at least 27 Boeing 767 cargo aircraft in the coming years. The deal was discussed in Seattle this past weekend and though the details of the meeting are private, the deal is said to be worth around USD$5 billion.
If the deal goes through, it will benefit both companies. Boeing would gain valuable sales amid a tough market for wide-body aircraft in general and cargo planes in particular as it develops a version of the 767 as an aerial refueling tanker for the U.S. Defense Department and FedEx would extend its strategy of replacing older, less fuel-efficient planes with new models. Sources for the companies didn’t have much to say.
“We constantly work on aligning our fleet plans with our business needs,” FedEx spokesman Jim McCluskey said in an email.
“We have nothing to announce at this time.” Marc Birtel, a Boeing spokesman, said the Chicago-based planemaker had no comment.
Aircraft upgrades are part of FedEx’s effort to cut $1.6 billion in costs at its FedEx Express airline unit. The 767’s capacity is similar to the older MD10s in FedEx’s fleet but is about 30 percent more fuel efficient than that three-engine model. Currently, FedEx has 35 unfilled orders for the Boeing 767 aircraft and the potential additional 25 would put FedEx ahead of the United Parcel Service Inc. to become the all-time largest customer for that model. As of February of this year, FedEx has 673 aircraft and last month they announced that 15 planes and 21 related engines will be permanently retired.
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