FedEx Express orders up to 50 ATR 72-600 production line freighters

FedEx Express has signed a firm purchase contract for 30 ATR72-600s plus 20 options.
These eight tonnes cargo capacity aircraft will be the first new ATRs to be directly delivered from the factory in a freighter configuration.
Deliveries of the ATR72-600Fs to FedEx Express will begin in 2020. 
“This new aircraft version, designated as the ATR72-600F, has a brand new windowless fuselage and is equipped with a forward large cargo door (LCD) and a rear upper hinged cargo door,” ATR said. The freighters can support both bulk cargo (with a capacity of 74.6m3) and various ULD configurations.
FedEx Express president and chief executive David Cunningham said: “ATR aircraft have been successfully operating in FedEx service for many years. We worked with ATR to develop this new aircraft, which include special features to help us grow our business, especially in the airfreight market where shipments are larger and heavier.
“The 72-600F will play an important role in our global network by helping us deliver fast, economical service to small and medium-sized markets.”
On its website, the US parcels giant said: "Current FedEx feeder aircraft do not carry containers or palletized freight, so these new features will help the company better serve customers in the air freight market where palletized shipments are the norm."
It added: "FedEx currently deploys more than 300 feeder aircraft in 45 countries. Most of these feeder aircraft are owned by FedEx, and are leased and operated by different third-party air carriers under their own operating certificates.  
"The FedEx feeder fleet is comprised of aircraft under 60,000 lbs [27 tonnes] maximum gross take-off weight, and allows the company to provide fast, economical service to small and medium-sized markets around the world."
ATR chief executive Christian Scherer added: “The ATR72-600F is the only new large regional aircraft available on the market for freighter operations. We are convinced that, with its use by FedEx Express, it will become the new benchmark for regional air cargo operations.”
The passenger version of the ATR72-600 is equipped with two PW127M engines and features enhanced performance on "hot and high" conditions with the "boost" option.
In addition, with the RTO (Reserve Take-Off) option, the aircraft can increase take-off weight and payload up to 1,000 Kg (2,000 lbs) on challenging airports with very short runways. 

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