FedEx Express has placed an order for up to 30 Boeing 777 Freighters, replacing its initial order for 10 Airbus A380s.

The deal, which consists of 15 firm orders and 15 options, will see the first aircraft join the cargo operator’s fleet in 2009.

“We’re looking forward to working with FedEx on this new chapter in our relationship,” says Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of sales for the Americas Ray Conner in a statement. “The 777F will have unmatched capacity for a twin-engine freighter and is a perfect complement to the existing FedEx fleet of aircraft.”

Financial details are not being disclosed, but estimates place the value at around $3.5 billion.

The order represents the first casualty of the Airbus A380 delay, with FedEx scrapping its order for 10 of the type. "FedEx has made significant investments in our network to meet customers' needs and fulfill our business objectives,'" says FedEx chief executive Fred Smith.

Airbus says it "regrets the decision made by FedEx" but adds that the manufacturer "understands" the express carrier's capacity requirements.