FedEx Express: Wikis


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FedEx Express
Founded 1971
(as Federal Express)
Commenced operations April 17, 1973
Hubs "SuperHub"
Fleet size 661
Destinations 375+
Company slogan The World On Time
Parent company FedEx Corporation
Headquarters United States Memphis, TN, USA
Key people David J Bronczek, President and CEO of Express division

FedEx Express is a cargo airline based in Memphis, Tennessee, United States.[1] It is the world's largest airline in terms of freight tons flown and the world's second largest in terms of fleet size. It is a subsidiary of FedEx Corporation, delivering packages and freight to more than 375 destinations in nearly every country each day.[2]

Its headquarters are in Memphis with its global "SuperHub" located at Memphis International Airport.[3] In the United States, FedEx Express has regional hubs at Indianapolis International Airport, Fort Worth Alliance Airport, Oakland International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, and Miami International Airport. Overseas regional hubs are located at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, and Toronto Pearson International Airport. The hub at Piedmont Triad International Airport is awaiting opening and the hub at Cologne Bonn Airport is under construction and is expected to open in 2010.[4]




Early history

First FedEx aircraft, on display at Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

FedEx Express was founded in 1971 as the Federal Express Corporation.[5] It was originally founded by Fred Smith in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1971. After a lack of support from the Little Rock National Airport, Smith moved the company to Memphis, Tennessee and the Memphis International Airport in 1973.[6]

The company started overnight operations on April 17, 1973 with fourteen Dassault Falcon 20s that connected twenty-five cities in the United States. Services included both overnight and two-day package and envelope delivery services, as well as Courier Pak. Federal Express began to market itself as "the freight service company with 550-mile-per-hour delivery trucks". However, the company began to experience financial difficulties losing up to a million USD a month. While waiting for a flight home to Memphis from Chicago after being turned down for capital by General Dynamics, Smith impulsively hopped a flight to Las Vegas, where he won $27,000 playing blackjack. “The $27,000 wasn’t decisive, but it was an omen that things would get better,” Smith says. Returning to his quest for funds, he raised another $11 million.[7]

Federal Express installed its first drop box in 1975 which allowed customers to drop off packages without going to a company local branch.[8] In 1976, the company became profitable with an average volume of 19,000 parcels per day.

Rapid growth

A McDonnell Douglas MD-11 in the livery used until 1994

The 1977 Airline Deregulation Act (Public Law 95-163) removed restrictions on the routes operated by all-cargo airlines, and enabled Federal Express to purchase its first large aircraft: seven Boeing 727s. In 1978, the company went public and was listed on The New York Stock Exchange. The following year it became the first shipping company to use a computer to manage packages when it launched “COSMOS” (Customers, Operations and Services Master Online System), a centralized computer system to manage people, packages, vehicles and weather scenarios in real time. In 1980 the company implemented “DADS” (Digitally Assisted Dispatch System) to coordinate on-call pickups for customers; this system allows customers to schedule pickups for the same day.[8]

In 1980, Federal Express began service to a further 90 cities in the United States. The following year the company introduced the overnight letter, and allowed document shipping for the first time. Later in 1981 it started international operations with service to Canada, and officially opened its “SuperHub” at the Memphis International Airport.

Federal Express' sales topped $1 billion for the first time in 1983.[7] In the same year the company introduced ZapMail, a fax service that guaranteed the delivery of up to five pages in less than two hours for $35. ZapMail would later become a huge failure for the company, costing it hundreds of millions of dollars.

In 1986, the company introduced the “SuperTracker”, a hand-held bar code scanner which brought parcel tracking to the shipping industry for the first time. Federal Express continued its rapid expansion in the late 1980s, and opened its hub at Newark Liberty International Airport in 1986 and at Indianapolis International Airport and Oakland International Airport in 1988. In 1989, the company acquired Flying Tiger Line to expand its international service, and subsequently opened a hub at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport to accommodate this new, expanded service. As the volume of international shipments increased, Federal Express created Clear Electronic Customs Clearance System to expedite regulatory clearance while cargo is en route.[9]

FedEx era

A FedEx Express delivery truck, showing the dual branding, both "FedEx" and "Federal Express" that the company used from 1994 to 2000

In 1994, Federal Express adopted the "FedEx" name, formalizing the abbreviation that until then was unofficial. Also that year, FedEx launched as the first transportation web site to offer online package tracking, which allowed customers to conduct business via the internet. In 1995, the company acquired air routes from Evergreen International to start services to China, and opened an Asia and Pacific hub in Subic Bay International Airport in the Philippines. In 1997 FedEx opened its hub at Fort Worth Alliance Airport and in 1999 opened a European hub at Charles de Gaulle International Airport in France. In 2000, the company officially dropped the “Federal Express” name and became “FedEx Express” to distinguish its express shipping service from others offered by its parent company FedEx Corporation.[8]

In 2001, FedEx Express signed a 7-year contract to transport Express Mail and Priority Mail for the United States Postal Service. This contract allowed FedEx to place drop boxes at every USPS post office, and has recently been extended until September 2013. USPS continues to be the largest customer of FedEx Express.[10]

In December 2006, FedEx Express acquired the British courier company ANC Holdings Limited for £120 million.[11] The acquisition added 35 sort facilities to the FedEx network and the company introduced Newark, Memphis, and Indianapolis routes directly to UK airports instead of stopping at FedEx's European hub at Charles De Gaulle Airport.[12] In September 2007, ANC was rebranded as FedEx UK. FedEx Express also acquired Flying-Cargo Hungary Kft to expand service in Eastern Europe.[9]

Economic downturn

A DC-10 landing at San José

The Late-2000s recession and the Financial crisis of 2007–2010 hit parent company FedEx Corporation and its express division hard. Many companies looking for ways to save money stopped shipping or moved to cheaper alternatives, such as surface shipping. FedEx Corporation announced large network capacity reductions at FedEx Express, including retiring some of its oldest and inefficient aircraft such as the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 and the Airbus A310. FedEx also announced layoffs and work hour reductions at some of its hubs.[13]

In December 2008, FedEx postponed delivery of the new Boeing 777 Freighter, four will be delivered in 2010 as previously agreed, but in 2011, FedEx will only take delivery of four, rather than the 10 originally planned. The remaining aircraft will be delivered in 2012 and 2013. [14]

FedEx Express closed a hub for the first time in its history, when operations at its Asian-Pacific hub at Subic Bay International Airport ceased on February 6, 2009.[15] The operations were transferred to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in southern China.[16] [17] FedEx Express had planned to open the new Chinese hub in December 2008 but in November 2008, the company delayed the opening until early 2009 citing the need to fully test the new hub.

On June 2, 2009, FedEx opened the new hub building at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, North Carolina. FedEx announced in December 2008, that it still intended to open the building on time, despite the bad economy. The hub's operations would be scaled back from 1,500 employees to only 160, the size of the previous operations at the much smaller sorting facilty.[18] FedEx gave no timeline as to when the hub will be operating at expected hub levels.[19] The hub had been delayed many years since FedEx first picked the airport to be its Mid-Atlantic U.S. hub back in 1998. FedEx had to fight many complaints from nearby homeowners about the anticipated noise generated by its aircraft, because most of its flights take place at night. A third runway was built to accommodate the hub operation and the extra aircraft.[20]

Future plans

In 2008, FedEx Express broke ground on its Central and Eastern European hub at Cologne Bonn Airport which is due for completion in 2010. The Cologne hub will incorporate a 1.4-megawatt solar power system.[21]


The FedEx Express fleet consists of the following aircraft as of February 28, 2009 [22]

FedEx Express fleet
Aircraft Total Notes
Airbus A300-600 71
Airbus A310-200/300 49 Exiting service: 2 in 2011, 3 in 2012, 4 in 2013
Boeing 727-200 77 Exiting service:
2 in 2010, 7 in 2011, 25 in 2012, 9 in 2013, 21 in 2014, 11 in 2015
Replacement aircraft: Boeing 757-200
Fitted with hush kits
Boeing 757-200 34
(26 used orders)
Entering service: 18 in 2011, 8 in 2012
Replacing Boeing 727-200
Boeing 777 Freighter 3
(29 orders)
(15 options)
Entry into service: 2009-2019
Entering service: 1 in 2010, 4 in 2011, 4 in 2012, 2 in 2013, 3 in 2014, 3 in 2015
2 on order from Air France[23]
McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 2 Exiting service: 2 in 2010
McDonnell Douglas MD-10-10 58
McDonnell Douglas MD-10-30 16
(2 used orders)
Entering service: 5 in 2010
Exiting service: 1 in 2012, 2 in 2013, 3 in 2014
McDonnell Douglas MD-11 59
ATR 42-300/320 26 Operated as FedEx Feeder
ATR 72-200 13 Operated as FedEx Feeder
Cessna Caravan 208A 10 Operated as FedEx Feeder
Cessna Caravan 208B 242 Operated as FedEx Feeder
The Boeing 757-200 entered the FedEx fleet in 2008
An Airbus A310-200 on approach to San José

FedEx Express operates the world's largest cargo airfleet with 660 aircraft,[4] and is the largest operator of the Airbus A300, Airbus A310, ATR 42, Boeing 727, Cessna 208, McDonnell Douglas DC-10/MD-10, and the McDonnell Douglas MD-11. The company took delivery of the last Boeing 727 built in September 1984 and the last A300/A310 built in July 2007.[24] To be able to respond to changing freight demand quickly, FedEx Express tends to keep a number of empty planes in the air.[25]

In 2007, FedEx revealed plans to acquire 90 Boeing 757-200s. Because production ended in 2005, FedEx was left with no choice but to acquire secondhand aircraft from other airlines at a cost of US$2.6 billion to replace its aging Boeing 727 fleet.[26] The 757's debut for revenue service was on May 28, 2008.

FedEx Express was to have been the launch airline for the Airbus A380 freighter, having ordered ten for delivery between 2008 and 2011 with options on ten more. The company had planned to introduce the first aircraft into service in August 2008 for use on routes between hubs in the United States and Asia. Faced with A380 delays of more than two years, FedEx canceled these orders[27] and replaced them with an order for fifteen Boeing 777 freighters with an option for fifteen more, to be delivered from 2009 through 2011. FedEx has said that Airbus will allow it to transfer its nonrefundable deposits to purchases of future aircraft, and has stated it may consider the A380F when the A380 program is less affected by construction delays. In December 2008, FedEx postponed delivery of some of the 777s: four will be delivered in 2010 as previously agreed, but 2011 deliveries will be only four, rather than the 10 originally planned. Five more will arrive in 2012, and two in 2013.[14] In January 2009, FedEx exercised its options to buy 15 more 777 freighters and acquired options for a further 15.[28]

With one of the world's largest airfleets, FedEx Express is the largest member of the United States Civil Reserve Air Fleet in terms of aircraft pledged.[29]

The very first Dassault Falcon 20C delivered to FedEx (N8FE) is on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian Institution.

FedEx Feeder

An ATR 42-300 operated by Air Contractors

FedEx Feeder is the branding applied to all FedEx Express propeller aircraft which feed packages to and from airports served by larger jet aircraft.

In the United States and Canada, FedEx Express operates FedEx Feeder on a damp lease program where the contractor will lease the aircraft from FedEx fleet and provide a crew to operate the aircraft solely for FedEx. All of the feeder aircraft operated in the United States and Canada are owned by FedEx and because of this all of the aircraft are in the FedEx Feeder livery.[30] Just like regional airlines, the contractor will operate the aircraft with their own flight number and call sign.

Outside of the United States, the contractor will supply their own aircraft, which may or may not be in the FedEx Feeder livery. Depending on the arrangement with FedEx, the contractor may be able to carry cargo for other companies with the FedEx cargo.[31]

List of contract carriers:

Environmental initiatives

Delivery fleet

In 2003, FedEx Express introduced hybrid electric/diesel trucks into its fleet. At the time the company had hoped to replace its entire 30,000 W700 delivery truck fleet with the hybrid, but in June 2009 only 170[32] were on the road. Ninety-three of these operate in the United States in New York, Tampa, Sacramento and Washington, D.C.; the rest operate in Tokyo, Toronto, and Turin.[33] FedEx blamed the low number on a lack of investment from other major companies in hybrid technology. It had hoped that other companies would order hybrid trucks, and that tax credits would be issued by the United States government to reduce the cost.[34]

FedEx claimed that the hybrid truck in the 2003 test decreases soot by 96 percent and emissions by 65 percent. It also claimed that the truck gets more than 50% better gas mileage while still having the same cargo capacity as a conventional truck.[33]

In 2009, FedEx Express partnered with Iveco and started a new test program of hybrid electric/diesel vans. The test program will consist of 10 hybrid vans deployed in Milan and Turin, Italy. FedEx claims the new vans will have a 26.5% reduction in fuel consumption and a decrease in CO2 emissions of 7.5 tons when compared to FedEx's standard vehicle. The trial will continue until May 2010 and after the program's conclusion, FedEx will evaluate if the vans should be deployed on a larger scale.[32]

In July 2009, FedEx Express partnered with Freightliner and Eaton Corporation to convert 92 delivery trucks into hybrids. The conversions boosted FedEx’s fleet of hybrid-electric vehicles by more than 50 percent to 264. The trucks were placed into service in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco.[35]

In November 2009, FedEx Express purchased 51 gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles from Azure Dynamics. The new trucks will be put into service in The Bronx, New York City. The Bronx will be FedEx's first all hybrid station. The addition will bring FedEx Express’ fleet of hybrid electric and electric vehicles to 325.[36]

Air fleet

FedEx Express has set a goal of getting 30 percent of its jet fuel from petroleum alternatives by 2030.[37]

FedEx is currently in the process of phasing out Boeing 727s for its fleet in favor of newer Boeing 757s, the airline says the 757s are 47 percent more fuel-efficient. FedEx will soon switch from MD-11s to Boeing 777s for its long-range, international routes, freeing up the MD-11 fleet to fly shorter routes currently flown by the DC-10.[37]

Major incidents and accidents

Northrop Grumman Guardian

A McDonnell Douglas MD-11 during a test flight of the Guardian, which can be seen mounted to the belly aft of the wings.

In 2003 FedEx Express partnered with the Department of Homeland Security and Northrop Grumman to develop and flight test an anti-missile system, the Northrop Grumman Guardian. It is intended that this system could be deployed on commercial airliners to protect them from terrorist attacks such as the 2003 Baghdad DHL attempted shootdown incident. FedEx supplied a MD-11 and a leased 747 for the flight test phase.

FedEx Express became the first air carrier to deploy the Guardian on a commercial flight in September, 2006, when they equipped a MD-10 freighter with the pod.[46] The company currently has nine aircraft equipped with the system for further testing and evaluation.[47] Because of the program's success, the US Congress directed DHS to extend it to passenger-carrying aircraft.[48]

See also


  1. ^ "FedEx in Memphis." FedEx. Retrieved on February 28, 2010.
  2. ^ "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International: p. 81. 2007-04-03. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b FedEx Express Facts
  5. ^ "FedEx Express." FedEx. Retrieved on February 28, 2010.
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^ a b c FedEx Timeline | About FedEx
  9. ^ a b FedEx Express | About FedEx
  10. ^ Usps News Release: U.S. Postal Service, Fedex Express Agree To New Contract For Air Transportation Of Mail
  11. ^ "FedEx Acquires UK Express Company ANC". FedEx. 2006-12-18. Retrieved 2007-02-17. 
  12. ^ FedEx - About FedEx - Press Releases
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b
  15. ^
  16. ^ "FedEx to maintain standby operations in Subic until April". GMA Network. 2009-02-06. Retrieved 2009-02-09. 
  17. ^ "FedEx closing hub in Philippines, moving to China". Xinhua. 2009-02-07. Retrieved 2009-02-09. 
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ PTIA Greensboro Airport Construction Projects
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ Air France: To Sell 2 New 777 Boeing Cargo Aircraft To Fedex
  24. ^ "Airbus delivers last A300 to Fedex". 2007-07-12. 
  25. ^ The End of Aviation - What will happen when America can't afford to fly? - The New Republic, Post Date Friday 16 August 2008
  26. ^ FedEx to spend $2.6 billion to replace its fleet of 727s -
  27. ^ FedEx Cancels Its Airbus A380 Order
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^ a b
  33. ^ a b
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^ a b
  38. ^ ASN Aircraft accident description
  39. ^ ASN Aircraft accident McDonnell Douglas MD-11F N611FE Newark International Airport, NJ (EWR)
  40. ^ ASN Aircraft accident description McDonnell Douglas MD-11F N581FE - Subic Bay International Airport (SFS)
  41. ^ AirDisaster.Com: Accident Photo: FedEx Flight 1478 (2)
  42. ^ DCA04MA011
  43. ^ ASN Aircraft accident McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10F N391FE Memphis International Airport, TN (MEM)
  44. ^ Aviation Safety Network > ASN Aviation Safety Database > Operator index > United States of America > FedEx
  45. ^ Cargo plane crash lands in Japan
  46. ^ Doyle, John M. (2006-09-17). "FedEx To Fly Counter Manpads-Equipped MD-10". Aviation Week & Space Technology. Retrieved 2007-10-29. 
  47. ^ "The Department of Homeland Security C-MANPADS Program", Northrop Grumman
  48. ^ Northrop Grumman - Article Four

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