FedEx begins to retire its McDonnell Douglas MD-10s?

FedEx Express MD-10s' inactivity could hint that the aircraft are heading into early retirement.
Ryan Fletcher / Shutterstock.com

FedEx Express, the arm of FedEx that runs the transport company’s airline, has yet to operate its McDonnell Douglas MD-10Fs in 2023, possibly alluding to the type’s early retirement from the carrier’s fleet. 

One of the seven MD-10-30Fs currently assigned to the airline’s fleet has already been stored at Victorville Airport (VCV), one of the largest aircraft storage facilities globally. The aircraft, registered N318FE, flew to VCV on December 30, 2022, staying put ever since. The cargo tri-jet was built in May 1979. 

Other FedEx Express MD-10s have been on the ground at either Memphis International Airport (MEM) or Indianapolis International Airport (IND), since late December 2022, suggesting that they could be headed for retirement earlier than planned. 

Per the latest Financial and Operational Statistics published by the company on December 20, 2022, all eight of the MD-10 cargo aircraft that were still at the airline as of November 30, 2020, are scheduled to retire by the end of the Financial Year 2023, which ends on May 31, 2023. Prior to N318FE flying to VCV, the last MD-10F to be shipped to the Californian airport was registered N304FE and was sent to storage on September 29, 2022. 

“To reduce the cost of fuel use and associated GHG emissions, we have implemented efficiencies in flight operations through our global FedEx Fuel Sense program and are replacing many of our older airplanes with more fuel-efficient models,” read a section in the company’s Annual Report 2022 discussing its aircraft fleet. 

A FedEx spokesperson did not provide further details about FedEx Express’ fleet plans.

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