Driven by e-commerce demand, DHL Express has placed an order for 14 B777 Freighters, including options and purchase rights for seven additional aircraft, with delivery of the first four aircraft by end-2019.
The USD 4.7 billion order agreement, at current list prices, was unveiled at the opening of the 2018 Farnborough International Airshow. And in an unusual move, the aircraft are being fully purchased by DHL Express.
Typically the express division of Deutsche Post DHL Group leases aircraft to operate its global network on the routes, but the company said the purchase of fully owned freighter aircraft will improve the cost position of the DHL Express division going forward.
DHL Express notes that expanding cross-border e-commerce sales will grow to USD 4.48 trillion by 2021, which means a growth of 19.2 per cent per year. “DHL’s investment in the B777 Freighters is a direct answer to the growing demand for global express capacity,” the company said.
“The acquisition of the 14 Boeing airplanes reflects a gradual replacement of our older intercontinental fleet,” explains Ken Allen, CEO, DHL Express. “As the most fuel-efficient, most reliable freighter type with the best long-haul range, these aircraft will contribute to our emissions reduction targets and allow us to serve even more markets with non-stop flights.”
Allen also noted that DHL was an early adopter of this type of aircraft for the logistics industry and took delivery of the third B777F produced by Boeing in 2009. “With extensive experience operating this freighter type, it has proven to be superior in all aspects of operation making it a logical choice,” adds Allen.
Overall, the 14, 102 tonne capacity freighters are capacity neutral as they are replacing older aircraft, but DHL Express adds that from an operational perspective, they bring “significant cost, efficiency and reliability benefits”.