The FedEx Express division of FedEx recently announced that it had signed a deal with commercial airplane provider Boeing to buy 50 new 767-300 cargo airfreight aircraft in an effort to deploy a more fuel-efficient airlift fleet.  The deal, valued at nearly $10 billion at list prices, further includes an option for FedEx to secure a total of 50 of the 767F aircraft.

As of May, FedEx had commitments to purchase 40 767F cargo aircraft with deliveries extending through fiscal year 2019. FedEx expects to take deliveries of its new cargo aircraft order over the fiscal years 2018-2023. With this latest order, FedEx Express now holds a total of 106 firm orders for 767Fs from Boeing through fiscal 2023. The new 767F aircraft will ultimately replace older Boeing MD10 and MD11 freighters as well as Airbus A300-600 and A310 aircraft.

As far back as 2013, Supply Chain Matters highlighted the structural changes in international and domestic airfreight capacity needs that were impacting global carriers such as FedEx.  The global-based transportation services provider has since embarked on a multi-year fleet improvement program that includes the addition of more fuel efficient, less maintenance prone aircraft. FedEx has a noteworthy strategic advantage in airfreight capacity requirements since the carrier recently renewed a seven year agreement to provide U.S. mail air transport services for the United States Postal Service (USPS).

The air cargo business never really recovered since the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, reducing the overall need for newer dedicated air freighters. This has impacted both Airbus and Boeing’s efforts to secure new orders for such aircraft.  Thus, this latest FedEx order is a boost for Boeing’s efforts in this segment. The 767 passenger aircraft platform has since moved to the new 777 and upcoming 777X platforms and thus orders for 767 freighters helps in Boeing’s bridging of production capacity to the newer passenger versions. We might speculate that FedEx perhaps secure some attractive pricing for its new deal.