FedEx & UPS Remain The Most Active Cargo Airlines Globally

FedEx MD-11 Freighter & UPS Boeing 747-8 Freighter.

LONDON – FedEx & UPS remain the most active cargo airlines globally and have started 2023 strong. Let’s take a look at insights published by

It is quite an obvious fact to state in this article, but let’s take a look at how they fare against some of their competitors.

With FedEx & UPS having a global spread, it comes as no surprise that they remain the most active cargo airlines globally.

FedEx & UPS Vs. Competitors…

Data provided by

FedEx & UPS are a strong duopoly, with the two sides offering around 1,331 daily flights based on averages provided by the flight tracking company.

Even if you combined all the other competitors in the list above, FedEx & UPS still comfortably come out on top.

European Air Transport, which mainly operates cargo flights for DHL, acquires the third-place position with 192 daily flights.

Another interesting statistic is that if you base it on year-round averages, this means that FedEx would operate around 258,785 flights per year, and UPS would operate 227,030 flights per year.

This is, of course, based on the current averages pulled from the flight tracking site.

FedEx: A Look Into The Largest Cargo Carrier By Flights…

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Starting off with FedEx, they achieved 675 movements between January 1-8, 2023, based on a seven-day rolling average, which is a decrease of just 1.32% compared to the same period last year.

Despite FedEx offering this number, they are not far away from achieving pre-pandemic capacity but have a lot to do if they were to achieve 2021’s numbers.

That being said, COVID-19 was a rare event, meaning that movement averages should be close to the 700s.

Data provided by

As you can see from the image above, FedEx’s most utilized aircraft is its Boeing 777 Freighters, which fly the most amount of hours per day, at 12.2.

Coming in second is its MD-11 Freighter fleet, which operates for around 8.7 hours per day, followed by its Boeing 767-300 Freighters, which operate an average of 6.2 flight hours per day.

Either way, with the airline’s fleet, quite a lot of FedEx’s aircraft are well utilized to operate as many flights as possible daily and weekly.

FedEx’s Competitor: UPS!

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As for FedEx’s competitor, UPS, the airline operated 532 movements based on a seven-day rolling average provided by the flight tracking company between January 1-8.

This represents a decrease of 3.97% compared to the same period last year by UPS but is still way ahead of pre-pandemic numbers of 484 movements.

The difference between UPS & FedEx is that UPS has consistently operated numbers in the mid to high 500s over the last few years, whereas FedEx has been spread out sporadically.

Data provided by

The Boeing 767-300 in the UPS fleet is the aircraft type that operates the most flights, coming in at 198 flights daily.

Its 757-200 Freighter fleet comes in second with 162 daily flights, and the Airbus A300-600 comes third for UPS with 123 daily flights.

As expected, UPS’ long-haul fleet operates fewer flights per day as they cover more of a distance rather than operate more flights.


It is quite staggering how extensive the infrastructure is with FedEx and UPS, especially when it comes to air operations only.

Looking ahead, both sides will want to expand on the successes they have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially with the e-commerce market growing year-on-year.

But for now, it is clear how much of an impact FedEx and UPS have on the global stage when it comes to the cargo market.

By James Field - Editor in Chief 5 Min Read
5 Min Read
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