PHOTO: FedEx, USAF Keeping A Production Line Alive ... Again


With delivery of UPS' final 767 having taken place in September, the backlog for the type is now down to three customers according to Aviation Week Intelligence Network's Fleet database: Air Astana (1), FedEx (44), and the United States Air Force (4, with more expected). It's obvious that FedEx and the USAF are keeping the 767 line alive and coincidentally, they did the same thing for the DC-10 line in the 1980s.

The DC-10 program was slowing down in the early 1980s to the point its backlog reached single digits by late 1982. The USAF gave the program a much-needed boost by ordering 44 KC-10s in early 1983 while FedEx ordered six DC-10s in mid-1984. FedEx and the USAF were the only two customers for the DC-10 until mid-1986 when Thai Airways ordered two. McDonnell Douglas was able to squeeze out a few more DC-10 orders from various customers to help keep the line alive until the first MD-11, the DC-10’s successor, could be delivered in 1990.

Fast forward to 2013 and the 767 program marches on thanks again to orders by the USAF and FedEx. Even though the 787 was designed to replace the 767, we can expect 767 deliveries to continue for years to come.

blog post photo

 A FedEx DC-10 in Memphis in 1996.

Photo Credit: Brian Bostick

Please or Register to post comments.

What's Things With Wings?

Aviation Week's civil aviation blog

From The Archives

Aviation Week is approaching its 100th anniversary in 2016. In a series of blogs, our editors highlight editorial content from the magazine's long and rich history.


Aug 27, 2015

Aviation Week Lifts Veil On Boeing B-52 Bomber (1952) 16

In 1952, Aviation Week provided the first details on the new Boeing B-52 bomber....More
Aug 14, 2015

Bonanza Travel Pays 3

The legendary Beechcraft Bonanza has an impressive production record, so perhaps the marketers back in 1949 were onto something when they coined the phrase "Bonanza travel pays."...More
Aug 14, 2015

Venerable Boeing 727 Prototype To Fly Again 29

The most famous 727, the prototype aircraft which would join United as N7001U, was delivered to the airline in October 1964 having served its time as a Boeing test aircraft....More
Aug 13, 2015

Aviation Week And The Bomb

Aviation News did not predict how nuclear weapons would change the world. But neither did anyone else....More
Aug 13, 2015

Collins Radar Takes The Ups And Downs Out Of Flying

Turbulence? Rockwell Collins had a solution for those bumpy rides in the early 80s with its WXR-700 Doppler Weather Radar....More
Blog Archive
Penton Corporate

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×