UPS adds two more B747-8Fs, picked up through Qatar, confirms UPS
Qatar Airways has not confirmed the nature of the transactions for these two aircraft. The fact sheet, as of Feb 2024, still includes one 747-8F in its fleet.
In a notable move within the air cargo industry, Qatar Airways Cargo has reportedly transferred its two Boeing 747-8 freighter aircraft to United Parcel Service (UPS). The company acquired two brand-new 747-8 freighters directly from Boeing, which were delivered to Qatar Airways Cargo in September and December of 2017. While the airline declined to give details of the nature of the transaction and the intended customer, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of UPS, during an analyst call after the Q4 results, confirmed that they have acquired two 747-8F from Qatar.
“The two planes were picked up through Qatar. And really, it's part of a broader airline strategy to retire some of the MD-11s in terms of efficiency and sustainability,” said Brian Newman, Chief Financial Officer of UPS.
In response to the inquiry about fleet information, Qatar Airways Cargo stated that they currently operate only one Boeing 747-8 freighter. Additionally, their fleet includes two Boeing 747-400Fs, twenty-seven Boeing 777Fs, and one Airbus A310F. As per the February 2024 fact sheet, published on the website, Qatar Airways currently operates a fleet of 230 passenger aircraft of Airbus and Boeing, besides a fleet of 31 freighters.
This news was further confirmed by the data we found in Planespotters.net. Both aircraft are now part of the UPS fleet however they are still not delivered to the new customer (UPS). According to the latest data from Flightradar24, one Boeing 747-8F aircraft is still in operation with Qatar Airways Cargo.
Participating in a panel discussion at the recent Cargo Facts EMEA conference, held in Amsterdam, Liesbeth Oudkerk, Senior Vice President of Cargo Sales and Network Planning at Qatar Airways Cargo, told the delegates that the Doha-headquartered carrier will soon operate a fleet of only Boeing 777 freighters.
“Qatar Airways will soon transition to solely operating B777 freighters in its fleet after finalising a deal to sell its two 747-8Fs. Qatar Airways completed the sale agreement as part of its strategy to streamline its freighter fleet around the 777,” Oudkerk was quoted by Cargo Facts.
The reason behind the airline's decision to sell the two Boeing 747-8 freighters remains unclear. Despite their relatively young age, ranging from 7.1 to 10.8 years, potential factors such as cost concerns or sustainability standards may have influenced the decision not to continue operating these aircraft. It also remains unclear how long Qatar Airways Cargo will continue operating the two leased 747-400 freighters.