LONDON – FedEx Express (FX) announced the delivery of the first ever purpose-built turboprop regional freighter, the ATR 72-600F, to its fleet. This follows the company’s 2017 signing of a firm order of 30 aircraft of the type, with the option to purchase 20 more.
The aircraft will arrive at Shannon Airport (SNN) and will be operated by ASL Airlines Ireland, a FX ATR operator since 2000, as part of the FX Feeder fleet. According to FedEx, this global fleet allows the company to provide fast, economical services to small and medium-sized business areas around the world.
The New ATR 72-600F
As the most fuel-efficient regional aircraft in the market, the ATR turboprop is a popular choice for cargo and passenger operators committed to a more sustainable aviation industry for the future. As such, ATR has acquired extensive experience in the regional freighter market.
There are currently around 130 converted ATR freighter aircraft in operation, representing one third of the global regional freighter fleet. The new ATR 72-600F incorporates the benefits of ATR’s knowledge base to provide FX with a freighter that meets the company’s needs and requirements.
In a FedEx press release, the company says that “With the changing market and the growth of e-commerce, the ATR is perfectly fit to connect communities and economies around the world.” The company operations can benefit greatly from the unique advantages offered by the ATR 72-600F’s 75m3 freight capacity.
Along with its freight capacity, the purpose-built freighter’s fuselage has a clean design and it is optimized for cargo. The fuselage has been delivered by the manufacturer’s Italian shareholder Leonardo, from their facilities in Naples.
In addition, the aircraft’s large cargo door facilitates the optimal loading of nine tonnes of payload and offers the option of carrying either bulk cargo or, when in Unit Load Device (ULD) mode, five 88” x 108” pallets or up to seven LD3 containers.
Furthermore, Pilots can benefit from the latest upgradable Standard three avionics suite in the ATR 72-600F, allowing the introduction of continuous cockpit innovations that improve efficiency.
Statement from FedEx
Jorn Van De Plas, Senior Vice President Air Network and GTS Europe, FX, said, “Today’s delivery of the first ever purpose-built regional ATR freighter marks an exciting new chapter for our FX Feeder fleet. This is an important step in our fleet renewal strategy, ensuring we remain the most flexible, reliable, and responsible network in the business.”
“During what has been a difficult year both for businesses around the world and for communities, we are proud to remain at the heart of efforts to keep trade flowing and deliver goods across Europe.”
“This new ATR Feeder delivery lines up with our overall ‘Reduce, Replace, Revolutionise’ sustainability approach, replacing older, less efficient aircraft in a more sustainable way.”
Statement from ATR
Stefano Bortoli, Chief Executive Office of ATR, said, “Every manufacturer is proud when it develops and delivers a brand new aircraft, and given the uniquely challenging year the industry and the whole world has faced, handing over to FX this very first ATR 72-600F is an exciting and rewarding moment for our whole team here in ATR.”
“Freighters play a huge role in supplying essential connectivity between economies all over the world and the unique aspects of our modern purpose-built freighter mean it will deliver operational benefits to companies that integrate them into their fleet.”
Bortoli also said, ““FX is no stranger to ATR, with over 40 of our turboprops in their existing fleet. We are proud to continue this collaboration with this world leader and that they have chosen the ATR 72-600F as part of their fleet renewal programme.”
“This sets FX at the forefront of responsible aviation with the most fuel-efficient aircraft currently on the market.”
Featured image: Photo:FedEx