DHL to begin phasing out ABX Air planes

Wilmington, Ohio (AP) - Air Transport Services Group Inc. said Thursday that delivery service DHL will phase out its use of 23 planes operated by ATSG's ABX Air division starting next week.

The DC-9 aircraft will be pulled from DHL service beginning June 30 and continuing through the end of the year. The drawdown is part of a cost-cutting plan DHL announced late last month to remove 39 of 55 ABX Air DC-9s from service over the next 12 to 18 months.

"This reduction is in line with what we have planned for, and we are taking the steps necessary to accommodate these changes," ATSG President and Chief Executive Joe Hete said.

The company said DHL has told it that the delivery company's pending service deal with UPS Inc. could end all ABX Air's DHL service. Besides the DC-9s, ABX air operates 31 Boeing 767 planes for DHL's domestic package service. DHL is the shipping unit of German postal service Deutsche Post AG.

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