DHL Express has increased the number of 777Fs it has on firm order with Boeing by eight units and added options for four more [FATs 005875-5886]. The integrator previously had options for seven aircraft.
Once Boeing fulfills DHL’s firm-ordered aircraft, the company’s owned 777F fleet will grow to twenty-two aircraft — the third-largest 777F fleet after FedEx Express and Qatar Airways.
However, unlike FedEx and Qatar, DHL’s 777s are all operated by CMI partners in Europe and the U.S. The carrier told Cargo Facts it is too early to outline where the new aircraft will be flown and by which operator.
DHL Express company will continue to take delivery of 777Fs this year as part of an existing order and deliveries from this top-up order are set to begin in 2022 — a timeline which reflects Boeing’s dwindling backlog for legacy variants of the 777 and deferral requests for the forthcoming 777X. As of Dec. 31, 2020, Boeing had just forty-one 777Fs, sixteen 777-300ERs and one 777-200LR on order.
This year, DHL expects to take delivery of four 777Fs remaining under its original July 2018 order for fourteen, having taken four in 2019 and six in 2020. These owned aircraft are operated on a CMI basis by three carriers, with five aircraft placed with AeroLogic, three at Kalitta Air, and two at Southern Air.
Here is a brief recap of DHL’s 777F placements:
- The first two (66079 and 66080) entered service in 2019 with Southern Air, a fully owned subsidiary of Atlas Air. Southern also operates at least six 777Fs for DHL on an ACMI basis.
- The third and fourth deliveries (66081 and 66082) went to AeroLogic, DHL’s Germany-based joint venture with Lufthansa, adding to the eleven 777Fs operating at least partially for DHL.
- Kalitta Air added two DHL-owned 777Fs in the first quarter of 2020 (66083 and 66084), representing DHL’s fifth and sixth deliveries.
- The next two (66085 and 66086) were handed over to AeroLogic in April and July, respectively.
- In October 2020, DHL took delivery of unit 66087, which is operated by Kalitta Air.
- The final delivery for 2020 (66088) was also placed with AeroLogic in November.
DHL told Cargo Facts that, while the new 777Fs will not all be used as replacements, some older, less-efficient aircraft — owned or otherwise — may be retired.
DHL will also grow almost all size segments of its owned freighter fleet in 2021, with more A330-300Fs, 767-300Fs and 737-800Fs on the way. We note that some of the oldest aircraft owned by DHL are its 767-200BDSFs, operated in the U.S. and the Middle East.
DHL Express’ global e-commerce volume grew by more than 40% year on year in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to CEO John Pearson, leading to a record operating profit for the year.