Metro Interim Director of Communications
ST. LOUIS, MO– April 19, 2013 – A Boeing 727-200F aircraft operated by FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX), completed its final flight today, as it landed at the St. Louis Downtown Airport and was officially donated to airport leaders to serve as the centerpiece of a new training site at the airport (see attached photo). Airport and community leaders gathered at the Airport Fire Station to celebrate this generous donation of the 727 aircraft and watched as the plane’s arrival was welcomed with a traditional water arch salute. A tour of the aircraft followed its arrival, giving those in attendance an inside look at the massive plane, which will undergo a significant transformation in the coming weeks to provide real-world training opportunities for the many area aviation staff and first responders.
Although the aircraft’s primary purpose will be to train firefighters and other emergency response force personnel, it will also serve as a classroom and a ground trainer for future pilots and aircraft maintenance technicians, and be made available to researchers and educators for use in their air safety and educational programs.
The pilots’ cockpit will remain intact, just as it is when the pilots stepped out of it, however, changes will be made throughout the rest of the aircraft. The front half of the fuselage will be configured as a standard passenger airliner, complete with a pull-down screen and overhead projector for use in classroom-style presentations to tour groups visiting the airport and the Greater St. Louis Air and Space Museum, and to youth flying with Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chapter 64 in their Young Eagles program. Jet Aviation, which has a history of doing maintenance and repair work for the FedEx corporate fleet at its facilities at St. Louis Downtown Airport, will assist in preparing the aircraft for its new mission.
The rear half of the fuselage will be outfitted to contain a maze of hanging hoses, wires, and other obstructions with cargo containers, boxes, and jumbled seats. During training sessions, non-toxic smoke generators will fill the aircraft with smoke as if the aircraft had made a crash landing. Area firefighters will be able to don their gear and enter the aircraft to search for survivors and complete a myriad of real-world training scenarios.
“FedEx could not be more proud than to donate this magnificent aircraft for training and education,” said David Sutton, managing director of Aircraft Acquisitions and Sales for FedEx Express. “This special donation is an example of the many ways we are giving back to the communities where FedEx people live and work. We are pleased the 727 has a new home.”
“We greatly appreciate this generous donation by FedEX Express and Jet Aviation’s assistance in handling the aircraft and helping to prepare it for its final use,” noted John Nations, President and CEO of Bi-State Development Agency/Metro (BSDA/Metro), which owns and operates St. Louis Downtown Airport. “Our airport fire department continues to lead the way in safety and training initiatives, and this fabulous training tool will enable us to provide valuable, hands-on experience that is rarely available anywhere.”
Upon completion of the work, the Boeing 727 will be the centerpiece of a new training site to be located on the northwest side of the airport between Vector Drive and the railroad tracks. In addition to the 727, the site will include smaller general aviation aircraft and other hands-on training aids.
This marks the 70th FedEx donation of a Boeing 727 aircraft to various organizations around the country for educational purposes since 2000. It’s the first such donation FedEx has made in the St. Louis region and, in an interesting twist, this particular aircraft actually has ties to St. Louis. It was originally one of just two Boeing 727s purchased back in 1979 by Ozark Airlines, which grew out of Parks Airlines, an operation that got its start right at St. Louis Downtown Airport. The plane was subsequently sold to Pan American World Airlines before becoming part of the FedEx fleet in 1993. Before its final flight, aircraft 727-200 REGISTRATION NUMBER N288FE provided FedEx with 20 years’ service transporting packages to destinations throughout the United States.
FedEx is retiring its 727s as part of an aircraft fleet modernization program to introduce new, more efficient, lower emission airplanes.
About FedEx Express
FedEx Express is the world’s largest express transportation company, providing fast and reliable delivery to more than 220 countries and territories. FedEx Express uses a global air-and-ground network to speed delivery of time-sensitive shipments, by a definite time and date with a money-back guarantee.
About FedEx Corp.
FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services.
With annual revenues of $44 billion, the company offers integrated business applications through operating companies competing collectively and managed collaboratively, under the respected FedEx brand. Consistently ranked among the world’s most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its more than 300,000 team members to remain “absolutely, positively” focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities. For more information, visit news.fedex.com.
About Bi-State Development Agency/Metro
Bi-State Development Agency/Metro(BSDA/Metro) is the operator of the Metro public transportation system for the St. Louis region, which includes the 87 vehicle, 46-mile MetroLink light rail system; 374 MetroBus vehicle fleet that operates on 75 MetroBus routes; and Metro Call-A-Ride, a paratransit fleet of 121 vans.
BSDA/Metro also owns and operates St. Louis Downtown Airport and surrounding industrial business park, and the Gateway Arch Riverboats, as well as operates the Gateway Arch Revenue Collections Center, the Gateway Arch Transportation System, and the Gateway Arch Parking Facility.