UPS Inc. said today that it has launched a weekly nonstop flight from its "Worldport" global air hub in Louisville, KY., to Dubai, and will expand it to a five-day-a-week service on Feb. 27.
Atlanta-based UPS said the service, operated with one of its new Boeing 747-8 freighters, will cut one business day off transit times from North and South America to key Middle East markets. At 7,700 miles, it is the longest regularly scheduled air service the company has ever operated.
The Louisville-Dubai leg is part of an around-the-world route that operates in an eastbound direction linking Dubai with UPS' Shenzhen, China facility, and Anchorage, Alaska, before returning to Louisville.
The new flight is part of UPS plans to expand its presence in Dubai, the company said. It has operated in the Indian sub-continent, Africa, and Middle East region since 1989.
The 747-8 freighter, the largest plane in UPS' fleet, can carry 307,600 pounds at a range of 4,200 nautical miles. That translates into about 30,000 packages per flight, UPS said. The aircraft used on the new route is part of a 16-plane order made in 2016. Three of those planes are in the company's fleet.
UPS said last week it would order 14 more of the 747 model. Deliveries of those planes will be staggered through 2022.