The move, the first 767 sale for Boeing this year amid a sluggish air cargo market, is part of FedEx’s larger attempt to reposition itself for increased express services, as high fuel costs and other factor push more freight to ocean shipping. FedEx in June announced the retirement of 18 A310 aircraft and 26 related engines, along with six MD10 aircraft and 17 related engines. That brings the total aircraft to be retired by the end of fiscal 2013 to 50.
The carrier, which will receive the new aircraft between fiscal 2015 and 2019, late last year announced plans to purchase 27 767s between fiscal 2014 and 2018 and push back the delivery of an undisclosed amount of 777s. FedEx operates 19 long-range 777 freighters and is on track to buy 24 more.
“FedEx Express is positioning itself for more profitable growth by modernizing its aircraft fleet and better aligning its U.S. domestic air network to match current and anticipated shipment volumes,” said David J. Bronczek, president and chief executive of FedEx Express.
The 767s have a similar cargo capacity as the MD10s but are about 30 percent more fuel-efficient and have a fifth of the operating costs. The carrier also expects to enjoy further efficiencies through the sharing of spare parts, tooling and flight simulators with B-757s operations.