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How Does Fedex Do It?

Tue Feb 08, 2000 10:42 am

That has to be one of the most amazing routing systems around. They have planes that stay mostly parked all day, fly all night, and they promise to take your package to anywhere in the u.s. or overseas by tommorrow morning.

All the FedEX jets I've seen at different airports were always parked. Never saw one leave!

Does cargo have to "change planes" like people do?

Do they fly everything thru their hub(s) like at MEM ?

Considering flight times, turnaround times, time zone changes, air traffic delays, in the heck do they do it?
Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
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RE: How Does Fedex Do It?

Tue Feb 08, 2000 11:39 am

Actually, it depends on where you are. FedEx (as I'm sure UPS and Airborne) doesn't fly their NB AC all that much other than nights, but it would be hard to find a FedEx widebody not flying all day and all night. In fact, that causes some problems for the "airline" when the schedule is wound so tight.
For instance, the midnight (Actually it's about 0300) flight from MEM to...say LAX will turn to a day flight to...the IND day sort (for all the 2 day freight) then that AC would (in theory...not the same EXACT AC--just same type AC) turn back to the west coast (LAX, SEA, PDX etc etc that would in turn fly right back to the MEM, OAK, AFW, IND or EWR night sort...
That happens for most of the larger west coast cities, and includes all the major hubs FedEx operates from.
To answer another part of your question,,,FedEx tries NOT to fly everything to MEM.
Generally speaking, if a particular city has enough freight for only one hub, that hub will always be Memphis. Then depending on where the city is, will determine what "secondary" hub an additional AC will operate to. For the very large cities on both coasts, they may have widebody AC going to three or more of the hubs FedEx operates to keep the volume out of MEM. So for instance, if you ship something from LAX to...CAE, it will come to MEM, but if you ship something from LAX to FLL, it will likely move LAX-AFW (FedEx's Dallas hub), AFW-FLL. Remember the old saying...You can only put five pounds of...mud in a five pound bag. As it stands now, MEM gets over 135 flights a night from across the country in mainly a 2.5 hour window. As I understand it, UPS is the same in SDF.

The main freight companies don't as a regular plan use the pax carriers...they use their own dedicated fleet. More control, more flexibility.

I hope this helps.
Posts: 600
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 1999 1:03 am

RE: How Does Fedex Do It?

Tue Feb 08, 2000 7:33 pm

Woxof did about as much of a short summery as possible, anything more indepth would probably bore you. As far as the things that can go wrong... such as broken trucks, broken planes, severe weather, ATC delays (really not that bad a factor for normal ops due to most airlines don't fly alot when we do), etc.. some body got paid alot to come up with alternate plans for almost all the problems that could arise... such as purposely flying around empty airplanes to drop in for extra lift or mechanical probs. Volumes of weather contingency plans.. which have contigencies for the contingencies.

Bruce, if you want to see the fedex birds fly (and are on the eastern half of the country), head out about 2200 to your local airport and soon the birds will lift off. But if you get the chance, head to MEM and watch the outbound launch... did you ever see the old cold war flicks with the heavy bombers all scrambling at once??? its about the same idea. impressive.

thats my $.02
Visualize Whirled Peas
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Fed Ex 727 In Buenos Aires

Wed Feb 09, 2000 3:04 am

i saw it when we were taxing to depart about 2 weeks ago. how did it get here? i know a 727 can't fly as far as buenos aires from any destination from the us. anybody know this route?
UPS Pilot
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RE: How Does Fedex Do It?

Wed Feb 09, 2000 7:07 am

At most of the gateway airports were Fed Ex parks jets along with UPS won't leave till late because this allows for late package pickups when businesses are closing. The majority of these aircraft then depart to a hub to were the freight is sorted then loaded on an outbound aircraft.

One major difference between UPS and Fed Ex is that Fed Ex owns more aircraft where UPS leases alot of aircraft that service gateways that don't have alot of volume. Fed Ex will have the aircraft waiting empty for the few packages then depart where UPS has a leased crew and aircraft on call in case the need arises. Also UPS has a larger trucking capacity than Fed EX even with the RPS subsidiary. Alot of packages may never even be put on an aircraft but be shipped by truck.

Both companies do there jobs well and are profitable.