FedEx will use the first two of its new 777 freighters on routes between Hong Kong and Memphis starting next month, company officials said, adding service at an Asia gateway hit hard by capacity shortages during the peak season.
The operations will link the world’s two largest air cargo airports with non-stop freighter service. FedEx, which has an intra-Asia hub in nearby Guangzho, China, has been operating between Hong Kong International Airport and its main express hub in Memphis through the carrier’s transshipment center in Anchorage, Alaska.
“Obviously that’s a very powerful lane for us,” FedEx Chairman, President and CEO Frederick W. Smith told investment analysts this month, “so much so that our first group of 777s are going” there.
FedEx this fall took its first two of 30 of the Boeing twin-engine widebody aircraft the company has ordered.
Smith said the aircraft’s longer range will allow the company to provide later pickup times on U.S.-Asia traffic because an interim fuel stop will be eliminated and the large capacity — the freighter has a revenue payload of about 104 metric tons — will lead to route changes on trans-Pacific and Asia-Europe operations.
The Hong Kong and Memphis airports have been the world’s top two cargo airports for several years. Hong Kong, long the world’s busiest international freight airport, reported lengthy delays in October and November after a sudden recovery in Asia exports.