While hundreds of passenger aircraft have been heading to Victorville (VCV) for short-term storage during the COVID-19 crisis, FedEx Express has brought an A300-600F (789) out of VCV, ferrying it to Piedmont Triad International Airport (GSO) on April 14.
Unit 789, which was sent from Memphis (MEM) to VCV to be parked March 13, is the first aircraft FedEx has reactivated in 2020.
FedEx said in April that it will redeploy aircraft that had been removed from service earlier this year to handle the increase in cargo volumes due to both pandemic-related medical supplies and e-commerce packages.
FedEx couldn’t be reached for comment on how many aircraft will be reactivated, but there are a limited number of options. By our count, apart from unit 789, the company has put ten other aircraft into storage at VCV so far this year.
The A310-300F was the final frame of the type to be retired by FedEx and will almost certainly not be brought back into service, while the two MD-10-10Fs are also unlikely to be brought back, given FedEx intends to retire this type permanently, based on the company’s 3QFY20 Stat Book and its decision in September to park or retire up to thirty-five of its freighters by the end of the next fiscal year.
This leaves two A300-600Fs, two 757-200Fs and three MD-11Fs. FedEx told Cargo Facts in February the aircraft it had removed that month are not part of a retirement program and could return to revenue service.
We note that FedEx has also acquired four ex-Lufthansa Cargo MD-11Fs (48785, 48798, 48802 and 48801), which were registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in August 2019, February, February, and March respectively. These younger frames could also be integrated into the FedEx fleet and redeployed, as UPS is doing with its own ex-Lufthansa MD-11Fs, but FedEx couldn’t be reached for comment.
Other operators are bringing their parked aircraft back online too. Atlas Air, for example, has now reactivated two 747-400BCFs to offer additional capacity during the COVID-19 crisis, while KLM has brought two withdrawn 747-400 Combis back into service to carry freight between Amsterdam (AMS) and China.
While Cargo Facts Asia 2020 will be a virtual event, the unparalleled networking and continuing education opportunities remain, with the best and brightest minds addressing the most pressing industry issues for Asia Pacific — including those around COVID-19. To register and for more information, visit www.cargofactsasia.com.