Empire Airlines (EM, Coeur d'Alene) took delivery of a first Cessna 408F SkyCourier under a CMI agreement with FedEx Express (FX, Memphis Int'l) and plans to ferry the aircraft to its base at Spokane Int'l this month, Cargo Facts has reported.

For now, N708FX (msn 408-0004) remains at Wichita Beech Factory airport and is registered to the manufacturer, Cessna Aircraft Company/Textron Aviation. Empire Airlines will operate the aircraft on behalf of FedEx and said that it expected to grow its fleet of SkyCouriers eventually. It did not provide a target fleet size. The cargo specialist underlined that the C408s would replace some of the nine ATR42-300(F)s operated on behalf of FedEx but will also be used for growth. The ch-aviation fleets advanced module shows that, on average, Empire Airlines' ATR42s are 32.1 years old. All of them are under a CMI agreement with FedEx Express.

Empire Airlines also operates six ATR72-200(F)s and three ATR72-600Fs under a CMI agreement with FedEx. It had also, at one point, operated four ATR42-500s and four ATR72-200Fs for Hawaiian Airlines (HA, Honolulu) under its now discontinued 'Ohana brand.

FedEx Express is the global launch customer for the C408F SkyCourier of which it has fifty on firm order with a further fifty options. It took the first unit, N408FE (msn 408-0003), in mid-May 2022 and assigned it to Mountain Air Cargo (MTN, Kinston). The aircraft currently operates test flights out of Kinston and has yet to be deployed into revenue service. It also remains registered to the manufacturer rather than FedEx, FAA records show.