Every December, consumer demand around the holidays generates a huge increase in the volume of air cargo. As a result, many avgeeks get the opportunity to see aircraft that wouldn't normally visit their home airport; while peak affects all of the cargo carriers, it is especially apparent for UPS Airlines, who leases aircraft from other operators to meet their capacity requirements.
This list was generated by analyzing the smart flight alerts JetTip has sent over the past couple of weeks; if you're interested in catching unusual peak season flights at your airport, please give it a try! The filterable flight board at SDF (where UPS has their main hub) is also freely available this week.
Are there any interesting flights I didn't include? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @JetTipNet. Last updated Dec 18.
- B763, N767AX: BDL, BWI, CLT, CVG, ONT, SMF
- B763, N797AX (DHL): LAX, MCE, PDX, SDF
Asia Pacific Airlines
N757QM, an Asia Pacific Airlines 757 freighter, appears to be flying for UPS and bouncing between BFI, ONT, and PDX.
Asiana Cargo has added a stop at MIA to their usual route between ANC and JFK.
B763 N373AA is noteworthy for getting pressed into service before paint could be applied. It's made appearances at BOG, MIA, PDX, SDF, SJU, and SLC. I believe this is the only ATI bird flying peak for UPS.
For FedEx, they've been operating B744s N473MC (white tail), N486MC, and N489MC to HNL, MEM, ONT, and SJU.
They have a large fleet of 747 and 767 freighters which are also in service (some of these flights might not be related to peak); recent alerts have been sent to spotters at ABQ, AFW, ATL, BUF, BWI, CLT, CVG, DAL, LAX, MIA, PHL, SBD, SEA, YHM, YYC, YOW, and YYJ.
Cathay Pacific Cargo
B748, B-LJK stopped at SDF.
China Airlines Cargo
Weekly 747-400 flight to SDF.
Some of these flight may not be related to peak; most are.
- B744 N743CK, in Kalitta/DHL livery: BFI, BWI, DFW, EWR, HNL, ONT, PHL, PHX, SDF, SEA
- B744 N713CK, white tail: DFW, MCO, MHR, OAK, ONT, PHL, SDF
- B744's N401KZ, N403CK, N700CK, N701CK also in peak service: DFW, MCO, MHR, OAK, ORD, ONT, PHL, PHX, SBD, SDF
- B763 N764CK, white tail: ATL, BOS, DFW, GSO, MEM, ORD, SAT
- B734, N730CK: FAR, GSP, MSP, SDF
- B722, N720CK, N724CK, N726CK, N729CK: CVG, DFW, DTW, EWR, GSP, MSY, OAK, SDF, TUS
B744 / N952CAN / CR2553 (MSP-SDF). December 15, 2018
B744 N952CA has been flying UPS routes: GSP, MSP, PDX, SDF, SLC.
Silk Way West
B748 VQ-BVB to SDF
Smart alerts triggered for a handful of flights through CVG; unsure if they're recurrent peak flights or not.
- MD11 N950AR has been flying between LAX , MEM, and SEA, presumably for FedEx.
- B744 N903AR, MHR, OAK, SDF
- B744 N904AR, which has different logos on each side, has been flying to SDF, MIA, MHR, OAK and ORD.
B744 / N579UP / UPS559 (MSP-SDF). November 14, 2018
In addition to leasing aircraft from other carriers, UPS has notably
been sending their 747s to a few domestic airports that don't usually
see them. Smart flight alerts have been sent for UPS B744 and B748
visits to DEN, DFW, MSP, PDX and SAT.
As extra lift comes in from other carriers, UPS is also changing fleet assignments - for example, SYR has been seeing 767s and A300s, which is unusual - and there are countless other similar examples.
Looks like quite a few members of their fleet have been flying for UPS this year. MD11s to ATL, CLE, DEN, DFW, DTW, IAH, OAK, ONT, RFD, SDF, and SLC.
One of their two 747-400's, N356KD, is also in UPS service. Noteworthy appearances at ONT, MSP, PHL, and SBD so far.
Nick lives in Burnsville, MN with his wife and three children. He grooves on railroad and aviation photography, geography, weather, and LEGO. A freelance web developer, he started JetTip's smart flight alert service in 2017. He can frequently be found atop a step ladder at MSP's Aircraft Viewing Area.