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FedEx to add 100 SkyCouriers to their Fleet in 2020

Recently, Cessna unveiled a brand-new design for a small freighter and passenger aircraft, aptly names the SkyCourier.

FedEx Express has agreed to buy 50 of the flying delivery trucks, adding to its fleet, around one per month for four years, and holds the option for 50 more. FedEx delivery is rapidly modernizing its fleet of small planes to keep up with competitors like Amazon (AMZN), who are trying to fly and deliver more orders themselves.

FedEx (FDX), whose planes travel the glob carrying your packages, already operates one of the largest aircraft fleets on the planet.

But, its enormous freight aircraft can’t pickup and deliver in every community, so the company uses a feeder network of smaller planes to get parcels closer to their intended destination, where they can be delivered by ground transportation.

With a top speed of 200 knots (230 miles per hour), the SkyCourier will be able to haul around 6,000 pounds of cargo as far as 900 nautical miles. That range will enable FedEx to fly packages from its main distribution center in Memphis to locations as far off as North Dakota, New Mexico, Connecticut or even the Caribbean.

While the design is all new, the SkyCourier isn’t as high tech as many other new plane models.

Cessna is using long-proven engines and non-computerized pilot controls to keep development costs down. And the aircraft is able to get by without some of the standard features of larger planes such as retractable landing gear. This saves weight and allows the aircraft to operate in more rugged conditions.

The plane’s body is designed to fit three specially shaped containers that will slot directly into the belly of larger freight airliners to speed up airport connections.

The SkyCourier will fly first as a freighter, but the aircraft also comes in a model designed to carry up to 19 passengers and two crewmembers.

The new planes be delivered to FedEx starting in mid-2020.

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