FedEx is donating an MD-10-30 cargo aircraft to ORBIS International to be the non-profit organization's third-generation Flying Eye Hospital.

The aircraft, which replaces a 1970-built McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10, like its predecessor will house a fully functioning eye hospital on board. This time, however, the hospital suite will utilize a modular design.

"It is the first time such modular units have been designed for an aircraft, and building them presents an enormous engineering challenge to meet the demanding technical requirements for both aviation and medical certification," said ORBIS, noting that Vermont-based Mobile Medical International Corp is under contract to design and manufacture the modules.

ORBIS works to eliminate preventable blindness throughout the world. In addition to donating the MD-10-30 to the organization, FedEx has made a new $5.375 million commitment in the form of cash and in-kind gifts.

"FedEx has supported ORBIS for almost three decades, one of our longest running relationships with a nonprofit," said James Parker, executive vice president, FedEx air operations.

"Today, we're taking our work together to the next level by creating the next generation Flying Eye Hospital, which will significantly improve the lives of millions of people who otherwise would have been blind, but now will experience the gift of sight."

The announcement came as the Flying Eye Hospital kicked of a North American goodwill tour in Los Angeles. The Flying Eye Hospital will also visit Burlington, Vermont; Dallas/Fort Worth, Memphis; and Toronto and Ottawa in Canada between August and November to raise public awareness of the need to eliminate avoidable blindness.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news