Does USPS Own Planes?

Unlike other carriers, the U.S. Postal Service does not own any planes and instead relies on domestic cargo flights to transport mail and packages across the country
does USPS own planes?
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On top of their recognizable delivery vans, shipping carriers and logistics companies like UPS, FedEx, and Amazon each own a fleet of planes. If you’ve flown anywhere in the U.S., you’ve likely seen a UPS or FedEx plane parked somewhere in the airport (or a whole lot of them). Amazon even has a Prime airport in Kentucky dedicated to providing one-day delivery to Prime customers. Since these carriers all own aircraft, it’s common to wonder whether USPS owns any planes of its own.

USPS Does Not Own Any Planes and Relies on Domestic Cargo Flights to Transport Mail & Parcels

In a short answer: no, USPS does not own any planes. Instead, it “rents” space on domestic cargo flights to transport its mail and parcels. In essence, USPS partners with cargo air providers and places the packages and mail in its network cargo flights. This is how both First Class Mail and air-based shipping such as Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express travel throughout the United States.

USPS places packages and mail all going to the same region on domestic cargo flights traveling to that region. Once the flight arrives, USPS transports the mail and parcels to a local sorting and distribution center, where they are then sent to Post Offices within the region for the final leg of delivery.

Which USPS Shipping Services Travel via Air Transportation?

The only USPS shipping services that are transported via domestic cargo flights are Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express (including all flat-rate sub-services of Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express).

As its name suggests, USPS Ground Advantage packages do not travel on domestic cargo flights. These parcels travel strictly via ground transportation only.

UPS is Now the Postal Service’s Primary Air Cargo Provider After FedEx Ended its Partnership to Provide Transport

While UPS and USPS are competitors in the handheld parcel delivery market in the U.S., the two carriers share a robust partnership when it comes to transporting mail and packages. In fact, UPS is the Postal Service’s primary air cargo provider and transports the majority of the Postal Service’s mail and packages on its domestic cargo flights.

This contract between USPS and UPS is relatively new, with the two carriers first announcing it on April 1st, 2024. Before USPS awarded UPS the contract, FedEx was the Postal Service’s primary air cargo provider for over 20 years.

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