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July 7, 2017 3:15 PM, EDT
FedEx, Boeing Announce Big Cargo Freighter as Next ‘Flying Testbed’
FedEx Corp.

A Boeing 777 made for FedEx Express will be the latest in the aircraft manufacturer’s ecoDemonstrator series of planes designed to test emerging technologies.

The companies said the plane, featuring propulsion advancements and flight deck innovations, will undergo three months of testing next year before returning to the FedEx fleet.

FedEx Corp. ranks No. 2 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers.

Key features will include a Boeing-developed compact thrust reverser designed to save fuel; flight deck improvements to increase efficiency of operations at busy airports; and flying prototype airplane parts using manufacturing techniques that reduce material waste.

It’s the fifth aircraft and the first for FedEx in the ecoDemonstrator program, which creates flying testbeds to improve environmental performance and safety of future airplanes.

The program began in 2011 with an American Airlines Next-Generation 737-800 airplane.

“FedEx is committed to developing and implementing innovative solutions that connect the world responsibly and resourcefully,” David Cunningham, president and CEO of FedEx Express, said in a release.

“We’re proud to work with Boeing and use our 777 Freighter to play a key role in bringing future benefits to the entire aviation industry,” Cunningham said.

Mike Sinnett, vice president of Boeing Commercial Airplanes Product Development, said, “The ecoDemonstrator program is focused on harvesting exciting new technologies that will benefit our airline customers, the flying public and the environment.”

The Boeing 777 Freighter is FedEx’s largest and longest range aircraft, capable of connecting the world hub in Memphis nonstop to cargo hubs in Europe, China and the Middle East. The company had 30 777s in its 657-aircraft fleet as of May 31 with deliveries of another 16 scheduled by 2022.