Boeing plans to build 767s faster as air freight market rebounds

Boeing plans to build 767s faster as air freight market rebounds

An Amazon-branded Boeing 767 freighter, nicknamed Amazon One, flies over Lake Washington during the Seattle Seafair Air Show on Aug. 5, 2016 in Seattle.

Boeing is planning for more gains in the air freight market. The aerospace giant on Wednesday said it will increase production of 767 planes from 2.5 to 3 a month starting in 2020.

“We do see long-term strength in the (air cargo) market,” Boeing’s CEO Dennis Muilenburg said during an earnings call, citing stronger global trade and e-commerce. “That’s part of what’s factored into our decision to increase the 767 production rate from 2.5 to 3 per month in 2020.”

Air freight demand last year grew at its fastest clip since 2010, according to the International Air Transport Association, an industry group.

Boeing has 99 firm orders for 767s, 61 of them freighters and 38 of them military tankers, a spokesman for the company said.

Boeing has recently seen an uptick in orders for other freight aircraft. In the summer of 2016, Boeing suggested it could end production of the original jumbo jet — the Boeing 747 — as airlines eschewed the plane in favor of more fuel-efficient models. But United Parcel Service in February helped extend the plane’s life, doubling its order for the four-engine aircraft to 28. UPS also ordered up four new Boeing 767 freighters, and is converting three other passenger aircraft.

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