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FedEx Express placed a firm order with Boeing for twenty-seven 767-300 freighters, with deliveries beginning in fiscal 2014 (starts June 1, 2013) and running through 2018. FedEx will use the 767-300Fs to begin replacing its MD-10 freighters, some of which are over 40 years old.
FedEx has been looking at a medium widebody order for some time, and was known to have been in negotiations early this year with Boeing about the possibility of a freighter variant of the 767-400. That idea was eventually shelved, but talks continued with Boeing about the 767-300 and with Airbus about freighter variants of the A330. (FedEx’s current medium widebody fleet includes seventy-one A300-600Fs, forty-five A310-200Fs/-300Fs and seventy-five MD-10-10 and -10-30s)
Along with the 767 freighter order, FedEx also exercised options for two more 777Fs, bringing its total announced firm orders for the type to twenty-nine, of which it has taken delivery of fourteen, as well as three more originally ordered by Air France. In addition to the twenty-nine firm orders, FedEx also placed an order which it described as firm but conditional upon there being no change in the governance of the company’s labor relations. Assuming there is no such change, this puts the company’s total 777 fleet at forty-seven units once all the aircraft now on order have been delivered.
Interestingly, at the same time that it ordered the most recent two 777Fs, FedEx also deferred delivery of eleven of the 777Fs already on order due to slowing ex-Asia demand.
Boeing now has sixty-nine 767s in its backlog (47 freighters and twenty-two pax units), but will in the future be using the 767 line for production of about fifteen US Air Force refueling tankers per year.