FedEx, USPS Partnership Off to Flying Start

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Everything went smoothly this week in the launch of the U.S. Postal Service-FedEx Express air transportation agreement.

"The planes are taking off and landing on time. Everything is coming in smoothly, and the few bugs we've seen are virtually insignificant," said Paul Vogel, vice president for network operations management for the USPS.

Announced Jan. 12, the air transportation agreement gives the USPS shared access to FedEx Express, the world's largest air cargo airline. Under the contract, FedEx Express, Memphis, TN, will carry -- and sometimes sort -- Express, Priority and First-Class mail.

The USPS will pay about $6.3 billion over seven years for shared access to the FedEx Express national air transportation network, saving about $1 billion in air transportation costs while extending the delivery area for its next-day Express Mail and two-day Priority Mail services.

Given the range of transportation options available to the USPS -- rail, surface, commercial passenger airlines and the new air cargo contract -- more communities will be able to get Express Mail overnight guaranteed service. They also are likely to get more consistent Priority Mail two- to three-day service.

Up to 3.3 million pounds of mail will be carried on FedEx planes daily. Most of the mail will come through the company's hub at Memphis International Airport. FedEx has hired nearly 500 pilots, 250 aircraft mechanics and 1,200 cargo handlers to deal with the air-transport phase of the contract.


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