UPS opts for 747-400 instead of the 747-8 through 2016

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UPS believes its Boeing 747-400 freighters and 767s delivered this year should accommodate its needs for the foreseeable future as it does not anticipate adding the 747-8F to its fleet in the near term.

During a speech at the MRO Americas conference today UPS President Bob Lekites said based on projected volume levels the carrier should be "flush with aircraft" through 2016. He touts the economics of the 747-400Fs in the UPS fleet and the 20 767-300Fs coming online this year. Flight's ACAS database shows UPS flies eight 747-400Fs, one combi of that type and 32 767-300Fs.

Lekites believes UPS would add more -400s to its fleet in the 2015-2016 time period, noting the carrier is not likely to consider adding the -8 for another ten years.

As for the 777F, LeKites says in today's difficult market "we would stay away" from adding another fleet type, but notes a converted freighter of the type might also be considered in the 2015-2016 timeframe.

Outlining the current operating environment, UPS is seeing more of its customers shift from premium next day air services to more economic options such as the UPS two-day or three-day transport options, says LeKites.

Yet despite the current sluggishness LeKites says UPS remains bullish on the prospects in Asia calling the region the company's "top international priority".