United Parcel Service (UPS) will make a decision on a long-term McDonnell Douglas DC-8-71/73 freighter replacement "within the next six months," according to Douglas Kuelpman, vice-president of UPS Airlines.

Kuelpman says that the replacement "widebody regional freighter" (WRF) will be a used and converted aircraft model.

Meanwhile, UPS will start searching for a Boeing 747-100 freighter replacement in 1998, and will add a small number of 747-200 freighters over the next few years.

"We have criteria which the chosen WRF model will have to meet - put simply, it has to be of 1980s vintage, have a maximum payload of around 45,000kg and between 20 and 24 pallet positions," says Kuelpman, adding that low acquisition cost will be crucial. Introduction will start in 1999.

UPS Airlines operates 49 CFMInternational CFM56-powered DC-8-70s. The carrier is looking at most versions of the Lockheed L-1011 TriStar, McDonnell Douglas DC-10, and Airbus A300B2/B4, and has not ruled out used Boeing 767-200 and -300s.

Source: Flight International