Empire Airlines (EM, Coeur d'Alene) took delivery of its first new-build ATR72-600F under a CMI agreement with FedEx and expects to induct it into service at around month-end, Cargo Facts has reported.

N701FE (msn 1680) was ferried from Toulouse Blagnac via Reykjavik Keflavik, Goose Bay, Montréal Trudeau, and Winnipeg Int'l to Spokane Int'l over the course of May 24-26, 2021. It will remain at the Washingtonian airport for a few weeks, pending the installation of a cargo loading system.

This Avions de Transport Régional turboprop is the world's second ATR72-600F as the first unit of the type was delivered to FedEx in late 2020 and placed under a CMI contract with its European production carrier, ASL Airlines Ireland (ABR, Dublin Int'l). The logistics firm has a further twenty-eight ATR72-600Fs on firm order from the manufacturer with at least four assigned to ASL Airlines Ireland.

In preparation for the ATR72-600F's induction, Empire Airlines has been gearing up for the phasing-out of its oldest and smallest type, the ATR42-300(F). It currently operates ten on behalf of FedEx under a CMI deal but will retire all of them by the end of this year. The ATR42s are 31.1 years old on average, the ch-aviation fleets advanced module shows.

The carrier also operates six ATR72-200(F)s for FedEx. Empire Airlines operated a further four units of the type, as well as four passenger-configured ATR42-500s, all owned by Hawaiian Airlines (HA, Honolulu), for the carrier's 'Ohana by Hawaiian inter-island passenger and cargo services. However, as Hawaiian Airlines has decided not to resume these operations as a result of the pandemic, it will now retire all eight turboprops. This will then leave FedEx as Empire Airlines' sole customer and lessor.