DHL Express has ordered 14 777 Freighters, marking a notable cargo win for Boeing on the first day of the Farnborough air show.

The German express shipper's order agreement, which comes amid broader air freight recovery, has a list-price value of $4.7 billion, says Boeing. DHL, which expects the first four of the aircraft to be delivered in 2019, has also taken purchase rights and options on a total of seven additional freighters.

DHL executive president of global network operations and aviation Charlie Dobbie describes the 777F as a "best-in-class fuel-efficient freighter" and says the deal marks a partial fleet renewal by DHL.

"The 777 Freighter is an airplane perfectly suited to DHL's needs, offering an outstanding payload capability, with incredible range to service its extensive intercontinental network and unmatched reliability," states Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive Kevin McAllister.

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The 14 aircraft would roughly double the number of 777Fs flying for DHL, which outsources 777F operations to US-based Southern Air and Germany-based AeroLogic. Those carriers currently operate 15 777Fs for DHL.

"The aircraft type has proven to be the most-reliable large freighter connecting the major markets across the globe," DHL says.

The 777F can fly 4,900nm (9,075km) while carrying 102t of cargo, Boeing says.

DHL's order gives Boeing further cargo momentum. In June, Boeing announced it had sold 24 freighters – comprising 12 767-300ERFs and 12 777Fs – to US express carrier FedEx.

Prior to the DHL deal, Boeing held unfilled orders for 53 777Fs. But that figure included – in the "unidentified customers" category – "a portion" of the aircraft in DHL's order, Boeing says.

The DHL and FedEx deals come amid an ongoing uptick in air cargo and surging demand for shipments of e-commerce products.

After years of stagnation, demand for global air freight surged 9% year-over-year in 2017, though demand growth has since slowed, according to IATA data.

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