FedEx orders 50+50 767-300Fs (but no 777Fs)

FedEx today announced an order for 50+50 Boeing 767-300ERFs. We previewed this prospect July 8.

But there were no Boeing 777Fs involved, as we reported there “perhaps” might be. FedEx, which also operates the 777F, deferred orders for 11 of these freighters more than a year ago–in 2011.


33 Comments on “FedEx orders 50+50 767-300Fs (but no 777Fs)

    • Those ‘after discount’ prices were at standard discount rates.

      As it says FedEx normally buys on ‘runout’ so would have got even better discounts. I suppose they would expect that as they are locking in maintenance rates and engine hours before overhaul from the 1980s for the next 25 years.

      • I’m sure Airbus would have been willing to sell them an A330F at an even bigger discount.

        • Thats what UPS would be hoping . They have 52 A300’s and 38 MD11’s

          • Has Airbus got enough slots available?Very interesting comments below from Raflw about stage lengths.a330 ceo is apparently more economic than neo over short distances,owing to the extra weight of the new engines.It seems that if you want something a bit smaller than b777f,b767f is the only option unless Airbus extends production.

        • I think Airbus likes it to sell tankers with even less discount due to missing competition.

          • Why would Airbus discount its tanker, its the only one available in the market.
            Who knows when Boeing will have KC46 for other nations, 5 years 10 years ?

  1. Mind boggling that an aircraft designed in the 1970’s can be competitive in the “new order” business.

    Any reason that Boeing hasn’t done a 787F beyond lack of available delivery slots?

    • @Bruce: FDX buys cheap and consider the planes the 767s will replace: ancient MD-10s (DC-10s converted to a two-man cockpit and EFIS instruments).

    • Indeed the 767 makes sense for FedEx. This recent list of movements by one DC-10 shows why a 787 would be very uneconomic for FedEx

      Multiple sectors in the 45 minute to 2 hour stage lengths, up to an occasional 4 hours. Fuel efficiency is less important that capital cost based on the time per day in the air. Had to pay for a 787F flying it 3 to 6hrs a day!

      • RaflW,

        I agree. The 767F looks like the best aircraft for this application – even better than the CFRP aircraft (gasp!) I believe Airbus’ Thomas Enders was right when he said CFRP for aircraft is no Panacea. In the end, it’s about value….and the 767F seems to offer that value.

  2. Obviously, ordering a few 777Fs would have provided some special joy to Boeing for a well known reason. But nevertheless, this order is a very big plus for the Boeing company.

  3. I guess very welcome for the 767/tanker line!

    Will they have the same CF6-80C2 engines as A300’s they’ll replace?

    • The KC46 project has PW4062 engines only, likely Fedex, which is already buying 767F, so will have same engine as earlier buys

  4. I beleve that the 757 and 767 can become the future MOM aircraft because most people don’t believe that every new program cost 12 billion or in the case of the 787 30. These costs have to somehow be repaid so it pushes the price upward. So high that the current aircraft can have the same operating cost.
    An example is the 777X vs 777-300ER. The 777-300ER with a 5% PIP package 14 more seats and 60% discount can lead to similar operating costs.
    But what you can do to reduce the fuel consumption of the 767
    1. New split scimitar winglet 1.5%
    2. Wing to body to fairing 0.5%
    3. New fairings 0.5%
    4. Slat enhancement 0.5%
    5. Weight savings 0.5%
    6. Cf6 PIP 1%

    • “I beleve that the 757 and 767 can become the future MOM aircraft”

      The only thing the 757 is becoming, is beer cans. The only thing the 767 is becoming is tankers (eventually) and freighters.

      • The 757 is not becoming beer cans.

        Fed ex has something like 112 converted, more from (United?) stored or available. UPS has 75?

        Agreed it won’t be a MOM, but both 767 and 757 are fine aircraft that will be flying profitably for someone for a long time

  5. I can not believe the USAF ordered the KC-46 without available, 20% better, mature GENX engines, for the next 40 years. But with the 30 year old PW4000.

    A costly re-engine can almost be scheduled today.. or is that the idea? First get them delivered, then invent a re-engine for range, fuel saving and reduced pollution..

    • remember the rules were lowest cost technically acceptable, with the threshold requirements set at a level that all competitors could meet (i.e. max of what 767 could do)

      further if either bid was determined to be even 1% cheaper than the other then the win was automatic. boeing overcooked it out of fear of an Airbus lowball and came in 10% cheaper by not including things like winglets (5% improvement).

      proposing a re-engined variant for either Boeing or Airbus was a guaranteed loss on price.

      not saying the rules made sense, just what they were.

    • The USAF estimations were based on the usage of the old KC-135. The mission profiles did not include current missions like resupplying troops in Afghanistan or Iraq with cargo or rotation of troops over long distances.

      For the KC-135 the KC-46 is the best replacement but exactly that did USAF brass not intended for KC-X. The KC-135 was hardly capable of moving cargo or troops and so most of the time only used for refueling missions. The KC-10 fleet on the other hand has logged more missions than the far older KC-135 fleet on average.

      For the rare occasion of refueling other aircraft the fuel burn rate is not much of interest against the capital costs. FedEx will use the ordered 767-300F more often than USAF its KC-135 tankers. The calculations would be different including services like RAF’s weekly services from the UK to Falkland Islands.

      • Exactly . The USAF uses C17 for medical evacuation from Iraq/Afghanistan which is a waste of capability.
        A 767/A330 is best for that mission.
        A lot of air cargo is pallet ready so can be carried by widebodies, doesnt need the extra height of a C17
        The days of a B52 bomber wing including a KC135 squadron and mostly doing limited airborne hours are over.

  6. The reality is the US operates at an entirely different level than any military in the World. And in advance, Europe is getting pointed out as why in as a bad example. The US Military is not without faults, but it understands logistics and what that means and takes. Europe is not alone, there is not another country in the world that has the breadth and reach and logistics capability the US has. That comes at a cost, but its a lesson learned in WWI and was understood by the time WWII came around and has stood the test of time.

    The recent Libyan debacle is a fine case in point. Right next door to France, and Italy, bases out the wazoo, logistic not an issue as close to all those countries in Europe that participated .

    The US had to supply Tankers, airborne intelligence, command and control. Europe had fighters to send but not the stuff that makes it a true fighting force. Logistics is as important or more important as pointy end stuff. Pointy end stuff without logistic and a full functioning military support is hollow (useless)

    If I Tanker is flying people and freight, it can’t tank aircraft.

    You don’t get to pick and choose in war, you can do one or the other (with a few exceptions like taking a squadron out or deploring a new squadron form the US that can carry stuff)

    that’s why the US has a dedicated tanker force. Lots of bases around the world where they are available to tank up aircraft coming and going as well as all the bases where they tank aircraft training.

    And when things go hot then they just step up and fly more as needed. You don’t have to rob peter to pay paul.

    Australia is a good ally in point, very solid military, just too small of scale as 24 million people can only support so much. A330 works for them as they associate a lot with US (and deliberately order a lot of US equ9pment so they can, i.e. C-17, Abrahams etc.). We can fuel their aircraft without detracting form our support as typically a tanker brings back a lot of fuel. they do a lot of humanitarian missions as well as deploying in US support and do not have other transports. Better to have it but can’t afford it.

    So the US when it needs to move troops uses charter and CRAF

    The C-17 and C5s are better used for bulk freight (including tanks if needed)

    On the other hand, when there is a lull, then you can use existing assets to move troops and medical ops and utilize existing infrastructure. The 220 C-17s are a war need, not a day in day out.

    A C-17 can easily be configured as a hospital and is far better suited to rolling the systems in and out than a A330. An A330MRT hospital cannot tank aircraft.

    You can tank or you can carry people or freight, you can’t do both. If you are 5000 miles away with freight and you need a tanker?

    Again the A330MRT works for Australia and other nations as they do not operate even remotely on the scale the US does.

    Europe does not. Each country has its own assets that are the sparkly end of things but not an in depth support system for those assets (very much admitted during the Librans campaign).

    Britain bought C17s because that was what was needed and worked. Australia did as well. Neither had any visions that an A400 could even come close to what they needed in its class.

    Europe should have bought a lot of those, instead they came out with a turbo prop in low numbers and high cost that can’t do the strategic mission that a C17 can. Useful, yes, the A400 will work eventually. Messy, with 4 main countries involved each had its own desires and wants and none are built to the same standard for each country.

    The C17 was a very trouble program but got through it. A400 the same but not nearly the capability (and we have C130s to do the rough dirt insertion missions in theatre, we don’t fly it across the world to do that at the end)

    The countries buying the A330 have that mixed need and few assets and it makes sense (other than Korea which needs close in support and is not flying to other parts of the world contributing combat forces).

    The A330 is a bigger heavier and more costly aircraft to run. 767 is the best available direct replacement for the KC135.

    What is done about the KC10 is an interesting question.

    For the US tanker and freighters is a complex dance of assets located all over the world to support operations, well under 1000 hours a year but needed when they are at that time not a week form now flying in.

    For the most part you will notice that the US logistically has done well in its support of its own and ally operations. That says something for a robust logistics tail other lack (all others not just Europe)

    • As I remember the logistic tail of the second Gulf War the fuel guzzling Abrams had to wait for the fuel trucks.

      “If I Tanker is flying people and freight, it can’t tank aircraft. ”

      That is maybe true for US tankers but not for the Australian KC-30A. The RAAF trails a fighter squadron with the complete logistic tail (spare parts and maintenance personal) with one KC-30A.

      The KC-135 is a child of the coldest time of the cold war: to refuel B-52s so they can deliver atom bombs to the USSR. Refueling of fighter aircraft was then a secondary duty and moving troops or cargo even less for KC-135.

      The USAF needs today charter or CRAF to do daily business while a lot of AF aircraft and crews sit on their hands? US taxpayers money at work…

      The KC-135 is a one trick pony and therefore did rest a long time in the barn. From a financial perspective it is cheaper to operate one aircraft for 20 years than 3 aircraft (tanker + freighter + troop mover) for 60 years.

      So the generals exactly did want an aircraft that can do all jobs. The generals also cried about the use of the expensive C-17 to deliver palletized cargo to the troops in Afghanistan or Iraq. The C-17 is running much faster out of time than expected.

      The C-17 is a strategic airlifter to move main battle tanks around. The A400M is a replacement for the C-160 Transall. The C-160 did get to small to move current and future equipment. The C-130 has the same problem with any modern armored vehicle:
      Bradley – no way!
      Stryker – without slate armor and therefore not ready to rumble.

      The A400M has to move e.g. the German Puma IFV with a weight of 31.5 t (full weight of protection level A – weight of protection level C is 43 t and was never thought for airlift).

      • You either don’t get it or don’t get it deliberately , not sure which,

        Yes a US tanker can carry squadron personal and spares when they drag a squadron out and sometimes that works for deployment/ rotation of squadron and tankers.

        What you continue to ignore is that same aircraft once in the theatre can either

        1. Tanker
        2. Carry freight

        It can’t do both, squadron movement is a one time deal, and maybe not that if said squadron is in the region or at the base anyway. The rest of the time is being a tanker for the missions its there for.

        The claim is it can carry troops, when its carryng troops it can’t tank and vis vera.

        You seem to feel the KC135 is deficient, It was what we had and it continues to be good for its role as that’s changed.

        Easy to criticize from 60 years hind sight. You think we should scap em all right now?

        We have 400 some of these. A certain number are in repair depots to keep them flying. Others are station in Continental US, Alaska, Spain, Turkey, Asia, Diego Garcia, Guam, and a lot of other places. Do the match, it gets pretty skinny if you need a tanker.

        We also continue to run various size fleets of B52, B1 and B2 that need to tanker. None of which need cargo capability, they just need fuel.

        And there is a balance in charters as no charters and the charterers go away and you do not have that resources.

        CRAF requires a certain level of payments for services to participate and be available when needed.

        The US has to balance that who situation.

        I respect its an average and not absolute best use of resources, but then again its not anything that lends itself to that. Like all logistics its a juggling act.

        And we also have to keep an eye on Allies who can’t seem to support their selves (Libya again). That also means we have resources we can draw from though that means something gets left off someplace else but it may be training that can be put aside for a crisis.

        so the world goes

        • Also to be clear, I don’t have any problems with the A330MRT

          It looks to work and do what is needed.

          The disagreement is that I don’t think the US needs something that size or capability for the bulk of its tanker needs.

          We also have the KC10 and the powers that were seemed to think we needed that. I don’t know if the 767 can fill that role or we need some bigger tankers.

          I also don’t know if that then is an A330 type or a 777 type.

          • The bulk of the USAF needs is not tanker business. The bulk business is cargo and troops. So the KC has to fit best for the main business. In case the better freighter (32 vs. 18 pallets) also offers more fuel where is the problem then?

          • Its not the USAF needs that is at issue.

            The USAF is part of a multi service entity and it services the entire US combat forces.

            It breaks down into three areas, two have commonality

            Tankers: Not only do they fuel the theatre assets, they fuel assets going to the theater be it B1/B2/B52 as well as C17 and C5. Ergo based in places that do not see combat (Spain)
            That is main mission. Cargo and troops (be it squadron or combat) are a bennie if it works but they cannot tanker if they are doing other things.

            Troops and Freight: That is part of a calculations on how far forward either goes, what’s availeable,, what is critical (combat supplies vs troops needed). That’s what the C17s and C5s are for and the Leased aircraft as well as the CRAF. Noting that CRAF goes over minimum commitments as of last note.

            Most of the supplies go by sea, 90-95%. Armor can be air freighted but thats also why there are pre-positioned ships and I believe some short depot to have that close and in area. An Abrahams takes up a C17 and I think two in C5. Not very effective use.

            And to put a twist on it, no one else has anything that can carry a Leopard or a Challenger (well the Brits do but its a C17!).

            Australia and Britain recognized the weakness of the airlift and bought significant C17s (for their size). 8 and 8 or maybe a couple more now.

            Note Britain has all those leased A3300MRTs to draw on, A400s coming on line, C130s and they still want C17s. It tells you something.

            Except for very limited you don’t need a C17 for troops (Airborne drop over long distance) but you do need it for critical freight.

        • I do not critic the USAF decision for the KC-135. It was the right decision at time. Lockheed did win the tanker contest but Boeing offered a ready tanker. So USAF ordered the KC-135 first as an interim solution…

          The point about tankers or freighter is quite easy. In case of eminent war there will be first a troop ramp up that needs freighter capability to move the troops and the equipment and then the tanker capability. That is what the USAF generals say.

          With an MRTT aircraft like the KC-46 or A330MRTT the requirement for CRAF could be reduced massively.

          For me it is quite a difference if USAF could fly from Bagdad to the US directly with just 114 (KC-46) passengers or 226 (KC-45). Costs to operate a KC-46 can not be that low to make up that difference. KC-30A with airline seating can carry 292 passengers.

          I did not get your argument about Libya.
          France: 14 KC-135
          Italy: 4 KC-767
          UK: 11 KC2/KC3
          Spain: 2 KC-707
          Germany: 4 A310MRTT (A3ten!)

          • Libya first: I also did not get it, no one broke it down but the US provided massive logistics support to keep that operation going. I don’t have citations but it was major news. Europe simply did not have the required assets to do it themselves. US was very behind the scenes on it but it was a major item.

            As for the rest, its not about one conflict or area or sitatiion.

            US maintins the requirement to fight one major conflict as well as hold off in another.

            CRAF is a balance between wearing out current assets, not wearing out air crews, maintaining a voluntter force. C17 production stoped, no more, we have to live with what we have maybe forever.

            I do know its not a simple this or that, complex situation and decisions and its not going to be a perfect system. If it works at 80% efficney they are probably doing well.

            Frankly I think they could have used a smaller airframe for most of the tanker needs as they are scattered all over the globe.

            And tankers are also an asset that if it really goes sour, you can stop training and draw on them.

            I also know that its not a neat tidy ramp up and then onto combat. It spits and sputter and fizzles and sometimes goes hot and then its a we have to get stuff there and fast (C17s) followed up by leased troop movement while the C17s shift to immediate need combat supplies and the tankers are keeping it all moving that way as well as keeping the in theatre forces working as the fighters are going to be the first available forces (or most likely)

  7. MD11 and 757s Freighters and 767F:

    There is an odd dance, suddenly FedEx decided the 727 were an issue.

    That seem to have been a major turn around from the 777 purchase and realized how bad (maint and fuel burn I assume as well as the engineer on 727).

    Why the MD10s were even modernized rather than a replacement program in place I don’t get. Asleep at the wheel or just a great opportunism with 767s?.

    I do know the MD11 looks to be viable for some time. Why I don’t get, but I saw last year that FedEx bought 3 of them from a firm that had them parked in Asia. Newer birds with low use and good for a long time? So while they look to retire some according to Wikci in 2018 they also picked up 3.

    MD-10-30 also listed as being replaced by 777, I don’t buy that. Its more a 767 market replacement (so speculation on wicki part and the 50/50 does that area)

    FedEx now has 119 x 757s and I believe that is more than 727s fleet despite the fact it carries 30% more freight.

    They also took anything available so its not a cohesive fleet. Looks like 3 engine types.

    Maybe rationalize it latter? As the A320 and the 737s cut into the 757-200 market they are retiring those.

    Like most things we will never know what drove what decisions and why course changes. Interesting to watch though.

  8. I did some sleuthing and it looks like there are 86 or so 727s at the max.

    Have to wonder if the 757s are already taking over some of the DC10 and A300/310 lift.

  9. All other tanker selection processes everywhere in the world lead to conclusions that will never be accepted by some. So little reason to discuss again.

    Maybe the french will get the first 242t MRTT -300F NEO’s, demanding GENX engines, using the extra meters for fuel and EW capabilities.

    Not everyone is convinced about a tanker is a tanker, a transport a transport, an EWA and EWA etc.

    20 yrs ago a computer was a computer, agenda an agenda, a camera a camera, a map a map, GPS receiver a GPS receiver and then you had those expensive mobile phones, for travelling businessmen..

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