FedEx targets fleet cuts during fourth quarter

Washington DC
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FedEx Express plans to shed 14 aircraft from its fleet in its fourth quarter ending 31 May. The cuts are part of an effort to keep capacity in check amid weak economic conditions.

The company has told US regulators that it plans to permanently remove from service 10 Airbus A310-200s and four McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10s it owns outright. Flight's ACAS database shows that the carrier operates 49 A310-200 freighters and 60 DC-10-10CFs.

The decision is part of management's efforts to optimise FedEx's express network as it also says a limited amount of its total aircraft capacity is grounded due to network overcapacity.

FedEx Express says it also clearing those aircraft from its fleet in anticipation of newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft being delivered in fiscal year 2010. The carrier's latest delivery schedule for that year shows deliveries of four new Boeing 777Fs, 14 passenger-to-freighter 757s and one Boeing MD-11.

fedex
 © Fedex

Separately, FedEx in its latest quarterly report revealed discussions with Boeing about the development of a 777 Boeing Converted Freighter, which would be built on the 777-200 and -200ER passenger aircraft.

FedEx declines to elaborate on the reference to the aircraft in the company's filing, but says that there are no plans to purchase a converted 777 freighter, and reaffirms its intention to purchase 30 original-build 777 freighters.

FedEx holds 15 additional options for 777Fs.

Boeing first revealed it was undertaking cargo conversion development studies for the 777 in September 2008. Boeing says the programme is still in the preliminary phase as a development study and while there is no timeline for a programme launch, a 777 BCF probably would not be available to customers until the middle of the next decade.

When first disclosed, Boeing showed the 777-200ER BCF offering a revenue payload of roughly 81,700kg (180,000lb) and a payload for the shorter-range 777-200 BCF of roughly 65,800kg.

In comparison, the 777 Freighter, which entered service with Air France in February, has a revenue payload of 103,000kg.

At the time, Boeing stressed that these figures are very preliminary. "We haven't tied down the specific capabilities yet," it said. "We're working with a spread and we're not ready to discuss specific numbers yet."