UPS Airlines’ hot-spares program has rescued more than 730,000 packages so far this year. That’s 730,000 potential service interruptions that our customers never saw.
“UPS dedicates 11 aircraft and 11 flight crews to its hot-spare program Monday through Friday every week to protect packages destined for Next Day Air sorts,” said David Grant, the Flight Operations Contingency supervisor who oversees the hot-spares program. “The planes are geographically positioned at seven air gateways across the United States to allow the company to reach any domestic gateway to rescue volume stranded for various reasons, such as aircraft mechanical problems or volume overflow.”
A typical hot-spare flight could rescue 10,000 to 20,000 packages, according to Grant.
Each minute counts in the hot-spares program. The goal is to launch hot aircraft within 30 minutes of notification. A slight delay, even a few minutes, could jeopardize a plane full of packages and result in thousands of service failures and unhappy customers.
“Attention to detail makes or breaks this program,” Grant said.
“Activating a hot launch is like when the fire alarm sounds and firefighters slide down the pole,” said Louisville Assistant Chief Pilot Capt. Tim Byrd. “All UPS employees from their respective departments have to be engaged with the program, treating the hot-launch notification like a fire alarm sounding because it is that important.”
Disclaimer: Data provided in this video was accurate at the time of filming in 2009.