From a personnel standpoint it matters little whether they acquire the 747-400s new or used, just working a new type is exciting for me.
I've got a feeling one Fedex's long term goals is to market the MD10 in the future as they did with the 727 hushkits prior. Should the program become successful, I can see other freight operators as well as second tier passenger carriers snapping them up. Sort of a poor mans state of the art (almost) jet. If that takes root, FDX will have a nice little cash cow for years to come.
Fxra mentioned the KIX-MEM run. That really stretches
the MD11 to the limit. I think on that particular flight they file the flt plan from KIX to OAK and then refile to MEM, fuel permitting. I would think a 747-400 would allow quite a bit of flexibility with those type runs.
I believe Fred will open his wallet as he has done in the past, but on his terms. And a nice byproduct (IMO) of the MD10 is that it gives FDX leverage to better call the shots should they want to buy or should the planemakers want to sell us new airplanes. Now FDX besides playing AI and Boeing against one another has added another card to the mix. The spector of a third competitor, Fedex itself. Should AI or Boeing refuse to sweeten the deal to Freds satisfaction, Fred could in essense crank up the MD10 assembly line and supply its own needed lift. Sort of an incentive plan on a grand scale.
You're only as good as your last departure.