has scored firm orders for eight 747-400 cargo planes with list prices totaling $1.8 billion from
Atlanta-based UPS, the world's largest parcel shipper, announced the orders Wednesday, saying it would use the jumbo freighters to boost capacity on some international routes currently plied by smaller MD-11 aircraft. UPS plans to begin taking delivery of the 747s in June 2007.
"These Boeing 747-400 freighters will allow UPS to smoothly increase capacity on its most important international 'trunk' routes connecting Asia, Europe and North America," said Bob Lekites, UPS' vice president of airline and international operations.
International shipments are driving growth at UPS. During the second quarter, export volume grew 18.2%, led by a 39.5% jump in Asia. Export volume from China nearly doubled.
The orders will also benefit
, which UPS has selected to supply the planes' engines.
Boeing has racked up an impressive string of new plane orders this year as it seeks to win back market leadership from rival
. Boeing shares gained 73 cents, or 1.1%, to $67.