FedEx Express has announced its decision to acquire Airbus Industries A380-800F in a deal estimated to be worth around $2.3 billion.
The decision to purchase the A380-800F’s is said to mark a significant setback to Boeing, which had fought to persuade FedEx to select its planned 747X Stretch aircraft.
FedEx Express will take delivery of ten of the aircraft beginning in 2008 when forecasts for growth in key international air cargo markets indicate demand will exceed the capacity of the MD-11, the company’s current long-range intercontinental aircraft.
‘Global commerce trends in the 21st century will dictate the need for a larger aircraft, capable of flying longer distances and offering greater efficiencies than those provided by aircraft available today,’ said Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, FedEx Corp.
‘The FedEx order is a major milestone in the A380 programme. FedEx is the first U.S. carrier to order the aircraft and the initial customer for the freighter version,’ said NoÃ«l Forgeard, Airbus Chief Executive Officer.
The decision to acquire the A380-800F follows a two-year study at FedEx Express of the company’s long-term needs for very large, long-range aircraft.
Experts in aviation and international trade forecast seven- percent average annual growth in the international air cargo market over the next 20 years. FedEx Express reviewed proposals from both Airbus and Boeing for such an aircraft before selecting the A380-800F.
‘We considered a variety of options, including the Boeing 747X Stretch, but none met our anticipated demands in the international air cargo market as efficiently as the A380-800F,’ said Smith. ‘We look forward to working with Airbus and its employees in Europe, Asia, here in the United States and around the world on this unique aircraft.’