Textron Aviation in Wichita unveiled a new twin-engine large utility airplane that can be designed for cargo or passengers.
The company announced Tuesday that it already has its first customer: FedEx Express.
Textron says its Cessna SkyCourier will offer a larger option in the cargo carrier and commuter aircraft market.
The turboprop is designed to handle high-frequency operations with fully loaded flights.
“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,” said Scott Ernest, president and CEO of Textron Aviation in a news release.
The SkyCourier can be built to hold up to 19 people with separate crew and passenger entrances.
In the cargo configuration, the aircraft has a large cargo door and a flat floor cabin that can hold up to 6,000 pounds.
The SkyCourier will offer a larger option for commuter or cargo planes than Cessna’s Caravan single-engine utility aircraft.
FedEx Express has signed on as the launch customer with an order of 50 cargo planes and options for 50 more.
FedEx Express is the world’s largest express transportation company and longtime Textron Aviation customer. FedEx Express has used the Cessna Caravan platform in its feeder aircraft fleet for more than 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.”
Textron says the SkyCourier will be ready for service in 2020.
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