UPS Said To Be Near Cancelling Orders
Things are looking dire for the freighter version of the
beleaguered Airbus A380... with several sources reporting United
Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) is close to cancelling its order for 10
of the planes. That would leave Airbus without any orders for the
megasized cargo hauler.
French paper Les Echos reports UPS may make a decision on its
future plans as soon as next week, but did not disclose its
source(s) for the story. It is common knowledge, however, that UPS
is currently mulling over its choice of sticking with the A380F,
after rival cargo company FedEx Express cancelled its orders for 15 of the mammoth
freighters in November.
"They are deciding that as we speak," Airbus COO John Leahy told
reporters this week, when asked about UPS's plans. Two other
customers -- Emirates, and aircraft leasing company ILFC --
converted their freighter orders to A380 passenger planes.
An Airbus spokeswoman would not confirm the report, and a
spokesman for UPS said Friday there was "no change to the
situation," and that the company was still reviewing its order.
UPS was among several carriers that sent its own team of
investigators to review A380 production in Toulouse, following
Airbus' announcement of a third delivery delay in October. The
first delivery of the certified passenger-variant of the A380 is
currently set for late 2007, to launch customer Singapore
While officials at Airbus maintain work would continue on the
A380F even if UPS pulls its orders, a cancellation would force
Airbus to pin its hopes in the freighter market on the midsized
A330-200F twinjet, which was formally launched this week. Airbus
currently has six firm orders for the plane, and a Letter of Intent
for another 20.
That's already more orders Airbus received for new freighters,
period, in 2006 -- chalking up a goose egg, compared to rival
Boeing's 81 orders for cargo variants of its 747-8 and 777
airliners. Airbus will build its last A300/A310 freighters this
In better news for the superjumbo, on Thursday Malaysian carrier
MAS said it would stick by its orders for six A380 passenger
aircraft. The airline was considered by many to be among the most
volatile A380 customers.
To date, FedEx is the only A380 customer that has opted out of