Textron Aviation Inc., has unveiled its new twin-engine, high-wing, large-utility turboprop – the Cessna SkyCourier 408. FedEx Express, the world’s largest express transportation company and longtime Textron Aviation customer, has signed on as the launch customer for up to 100 aircraft, with an initial fleet order of 50 cargo aircraft and options for 50 more. Entry into service for the clean-sheet design Cessna SkyCourier is planned 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 fulfill 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.”
Built for high utilisation operations, the Cessna SkyCourier 408 will be offered in cargo and passenger variants. 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 an impressive 6,000 pounds of maximum payload capability. The aircraft will also afford a maximum cruise speed of up to 200 ktas and a 900 nautical-mile maximum range.
The efficient 19-passenger variant will include crew and passenger doors for smooth boarding, as well as large cabin windows for great natural light and views. Both configurations will offer single-point pressure refueling to enable faster turnarounds.
The Cessna Caravan platform has set the standard in the single-engine utility category for decades. The Cessna SkyCourier will build on that proven success in the large-utility category, offering even greater capability and mission flexibility.
Textron Aviation has built a strong relationship with FedEx Express, which has utilized the Cessna Caravan platform in its feeder aircraft fleet for over 30 years.
“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 modernization strategy,” said David L. Cunningham, president and CEO of FedEx Express. “The Cessna SkyCourier 408 offers a number of significant features that will enhance our long-term feeder strategy.”