Textron Aviation has launched the Cessna SkyCourier 408, with FedEx Express signing up as launch customer.
The Memphis-based global freight specialist has signed for up to 100 examples of the twin-engine, high-wing, large-utility turboprop, with entry into service scheduled for 2020.
“With our depth of expertise and proven success in new product development, we were eager to work directly with a world-class company like FedEx Express to jointly develop the Cessna SkyCourier,” said Scott Ernest, President and CEO of Textron Aviation. “The aircraft will fulfil a gap in this market segment with its superior performance and low operating costs in combination with the cabin flexibility, payload capability and efficiency only a clean-sheet design can offer.”
The Cessna SkyCourier 408 is being offered in both cargo and passenger variants. It will boast a maximum cruise speed of up to 200kts and a maximum range of 900 nautical miles (1,667km).
In the freight configuration, the aircraft will feature a large cargo door and a flat floor cabin capable of accommodating three LD3 containers. The aircraft has a maximum payload of 6,000lbs (2,722kg).
The passenger variant can accommodate 19 passengers and include crew and passenger doors. Textron says both variants will offer single-point pressure refuelling to enable faster turnarounds.
FedEx Express has been a long-time Textron Aviation customer, having operated the Cessna Caravan for more than 30 years. The cargo carrier’s commitment for the SkyCourier 408 consists of 50 firm orders and 50 purchase rights.
David L Cunningham, President and CEO of FedEx Express, remarked: “FedEx Express has had a great relationship with Textron Aviation over the years, and this new, advanced aircraft will play a key role in our feeder aircraft modernisation strategy. The Cessna SkyCourier 408 offers a number of significant features that will enhance our long-term feeder strategy.”