Textron Aviation has delivered the first of its Cessna SkyCouriers to launch customer FedEx Express. The utility aircraft handed over today represents the lead ship in a 50-unit order from FedEx, which also has options for 50 more.
Fedex played a role in the development of the aircraft with members of its design and engineering staff serving on Textron Aviation’s customer advisory board, helping to establish the twin turboprop’s design, features, and serviceability. The high-wing airplane is designed to carry a payload of up to 6,000 pounds with an 87-inch cargo door, a flat floor, and a nearly 70-inch tall and wide cabin to accept three standard LD3 air cargo containers.
“The result of four and a half years of collaboration with Textron Aviation on this aircraft, FedEx is excited to add the Cessna 408 SkyCourier as part of our fleet modernization program,” said Scot Struminger, the air cargo provider’s executive v-p of aviation, adding this will help it better serve small and medium markets. “The SkyCourier will make us more efficient, now being able to move containerized and palletized freight for our customers.”
The clean-sheet aircraft, which is powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-65SC engines and has a 900-nm range, received its FAA type certification in March. FedEx's first SkyCourier was rolled out in February.
Now that it has entered service, Textron Aviation president and CEO Ron Draper expects the order book for it to lengthen. “We believe many other air freight, passenger, and special mission operators also will benefit from the winning combination of low operating costs and unparalleled lift capacity that the new SkyCourier brings to market,” he said.