UPS Continues Taking Delivery Of Boeing 747s – How Many More Will Be Built?

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Cargo airline UPS has taken another Boeing 747-8, making it the 25th 747 delivered to UPS AIrlines from the American planemaker. As the Boeing 747 program comes to an end and airlines are retiring the type, UPS Airlines will continue to be one carrier that operates the 747, likely, for many years to come.

Boeing 747-8F UPS
UPS still has 747s on order. Photo: UPS

UPS takes another Boeing 747-8

On September 3rd, UPS took delivery of its 17th Boeing 747-8F and the second 747-8F acquired this year. There are three more deliveries anticipated in 2020, just in time for the airline’s peak cargo-carrying season.

N622UP was also a fantastic milestone as Boeing celebrated the 25th 747 delivery to UPS Airlines. About 11% of UPS’s fleet is made up of Boeing 747s.

How many Boeing 747s are left to be delivered?

According to Boeing, discounting this latest delivery to UPS, there are 14 747-8Fs left to be delivered. This includes 11 to UPS Airlines and another three to Volga-Dnepr. Boeing has completed the delivery of all passenger Boeing 747-8Is to airlines like Lufthansa and Korean Air.

Boeing is producing the 747 at a rate of 0.5 aircraft per month – or one every two months. With 14 left to go, that means Boeing has only about 28 months left on the 747 program and coincides with the end of production on the Queen of the Skies in 2022.

UPS will keep flying the type for years to come. Photo: Getty Images

The 747Fs will still continue to fly

The 747s, though falling out of favor with passenger airlines, will definitely continue to fly for many years to come. Cargo airlines tend to operate older aircraft. UPS itself also operates MD-11Fs. According to data from Planespotters.net, the MD-11F fleet is an average of 26.3 years old, while the Boeing 757F fleet is an average of 27.1 years old. Some of these jets were delivered new, but others were also converted from passenger configuration into cargo ones.

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UPS MD-11F
UPS is still flying the MD-11F! Photo: UPS

Older aircraft have some advantages. Airlines can acquire older aircraft for cheap. While these planes still require a good amount of maintenance, freighter airlines tend to fly their jets less frequently, meaning fewer pressurization cycles, meaning less wear and tear. Plus, while passengers could get disgruntled with a 30-year-old MD-11, freight is not as picky.

These new jets will also likely hit plenty of cycles and stick around for at least the next 20 years, if not longer. The 747-8F, according to UPS, has a maximum payload of about 307,600 pounds (just under 140,000 kgs) with a range of 4,200 nautical miles (~7,778 km). This makes it an incredibly versatile cargo jet and the largest cargo jet in UPS Airlines’ fleet. Given how important the movement of cargo is around the world, it is clear that UPS will definitely be operating these jets for a while to help keep global supply chains moving and get packages where they need to go.

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UPS Cargo
The 747-8F is ideally suited to fly lots of cargo on long distances. Photo: UPS

In addition, the passenger variant of the 747-8 is very new and will likely also operate for a similar 15-20 year timeframe. So, for passengers still looking to fly a 747-8I or catch sight of one landing at an airport near them, you may yet have an opportunity for many years to come.

Are you a fan of the Boeing 747? Do you like the 747-8F? Let us know in the comments!

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