LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – UPS plans to add 14 Boeing 747-8 cargo planes to its 500-aircraft fleet as demand for its air-shipping services continues to grow, the company said Thursday.

Atlanta-based UPS has its Worldport global air hub at Louisville International Airport.

UPS last announced the deliveries of new aircraft in 2008, according to spokesman Mike Mangeot.

“This is really about opportunity…Our customers are asking us for additional capacity,” UPS CEO David Abney told stock analysts on a conference call Thursday.

The company met analysts’ expectations with July-September earnings of $1.44 a share -- and slightly exceeded expectations with $14.9 billion in revenue for the period.

Kate Gutmann, UPS’ senior vice president of worldwide sales and solutions, said the company is preparing for a record holiday season with a projected 700 million deliveries – 100 million more than last year. She said the record volume is due to the “dramatic growth of online shopping.”

Executives said the company is on track to hire 95,000 temporary workers for this year’s “peak” period  -- including thousands in Louisville – despite a tight job market that makes it harder to find warehouse workers than in previous years.

UPS officials fielded multiple questions Thursday about its investment in the cargo planes given that its biggest customer – e-commerce retailer Amazon – is building its own delivery network, including 40 leased jetliners.

Abney called Amazon a “good customer” with a “strong, mutually beneficial relationship” with UPS.

“Amazon and all of the other shippers will get the benefit” of UPS’ increased capacity for air cargo, he said.

UPS chief commercial officer Alan Gershenhorn added: “Our e-commerce value proposition is really second to none …We’re excited about the overall prospects of e-commerce in the marketplace.”

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