Graham Warwick/ATLANTA

US CARGO CARRIER Airborne Express has agreed to acquire 12 used Boeing 767-200s for conversion to freighters, and plans to acquire between ten and 15 additional aircraft for a total investment of $600 million over eight years. The 767s will be the first wide-body aircraft operated by the domestic express-package carrier.

Nine are being acquired from Itochu Air Lease, and three from Marubeni, for $290 million, including modification, spares and support. The first two will be delivered in 1997, followed by four each in 1998 and 1999 and two in 2000. The additional 767-200s will be acquired between 2000 and 2004 at a projected cost of $310 million.

Airborne says, that it selected the 767, after a year-long evaluation of a variety of used wide-body aircraft. Factors in the final selection included "reliability, operating efficiency, manufacturer's support, availability, environmental issues and capital acquisition costs", the airline says.

The carrier operates a fleet of 63 McDonnell Douglas DC-9s and 35 DC-8s, and 11 NAMC YS-11s. It has been adding eight to ten DC-8s and DC-9s to its fleet each year. The 767s, which will carry 34,000kg, will meet some of the demand for additional cargo capacity and serve markets outgrowing its DC-8s, which carry 25,000kg, Airborne says.

Source: Flight International