FedEx Express (FX, Memphis Int'l) has announced it has placed a firm order with Textron Aviation for fifty Cessna (twin turboprop) SkyCourier 408s. According to a statement, the purchase includes fifty additional options.

As the type's launch customer, FedEx will take delivery of its first 408s in mid-2020, with subsequent deliveries on a schedule of one aircraft per month over a four-year period.

The Cessna Aircraft Company indicates the 408 will be built for high utilization operations, with both a cargo and passenger variant to be offered.

The cargo variant will feature a large cargo door and a flat floor cabin that is sized to handle up to three LD3 shipping containers with a 2,700-kilogramme maximum payload capability. The aircraft will also afford a maximum cruise speed of up to 200 ktas and a 1,600-kilometre maximum range. As with its existing fleet of Cessna (single turboprop) Grand Caravan 208Bs, FedEx will deploy its 408s into cargo feeder services.

“We worked closely with Textron Aviation to develop the Cessna SkyCourier 408, which includes several key features that will help us grow our business in small and medium-sized markets, especially in the air freight segment,” David L. Cunningham, President and CEO, FedEx Express, said.

The 19-passenger variant will include crew and passenger doors as well as large cabin windows.

Both configurations will offer single-point pressure refueling to enable faster turnarounds.