Nedzad Beus, Aeronautics Online Writer
Having operated ATR freighters which were converted from passenger variants for many years, FedEx has become the launch customer for the freighter variant of the ATR 72-600, with the deliveries starting in 2020. This will be ATR’s first production freighter.
ATR is set to develop a freight variant of their newest ATR 72 variant, with the difference between the freight from the passenger version being the lack of window frames and the addition of a larger larger cargo door and reinforced floor. ATR says the 72-600F will feature a Class E freight cabin and will be able to accommodate bulk cargo, pallets, or up to seven unit load containers. FedEx has placed an order for 30 airframes with options for another 20.
David L. Cunningham, President and CEO of FedEx Express, 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 air freight 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.”
ATR’s CEO Christian Scherer declared: “We congratulate FedEx Express for their long-standing success and for their long term commercial views for the new ATR 72-600F. Their selection of this new aircraft is the result of a deep technical and economic analysis. ATRs in cargo configuration deliver an outstanding service, both serving small communities and feeding larger freighters. The ATR 72-600F 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”.
FedEx is the world’s largest express transportation company, providing fast and reliable delivery to more than 220 countries and territories. FedEx doesn’t currently operate turboprop freighters itself, but it has twenty-one ATR 72F’s and twenty-six of the smaller ATR 42F’s in its fleet, and leases them to other carriers who operate them in feeder service for FedEx.
Featured photo from ATR.