Denver-based Mountain Air Cargo has announced this week that it has launched the first ever Cessna C408 SkyCourier route between Tallahassee and Orlando.
The first flight of its kind took to the skies on January 3 2023 with Captain Samantha Szefler in the flight deck at the controls. This aircraft forms a part of the company’s long term feeder growth and expansion plans.
Upon being selected to operate the first SkyCourier flight Captain Szefler said: ”I couldn’t have been more thrilled to have piloted the world’s first C408 SkyCourier cargo route in Florida.”
I’m honored to have been chosen by MAC to lead the way on such an important next step in our company’s history.”
“I look forward to continued excellence in flight operations that demonstrate our Classic MAC high standards.”
Mountain Air Cargo is a FedEx air cargo feeder airline, and possesses over 40 years experience in the industry. They pride themselves on supporting the development of both pilots and mechanics.
Touching on the experience the company has in the industry Michael Bandalan, CEO of Mountain Air Cargo, Inc. said: “Recently, MAC celebrated 40 years of flight and maintenance operations, which includes 38 years with FedEx.”
“New aircraft need reliable operations. We pride ourselves on being a reliable service organization that has earned the opportunity to fly a number of C408 SkyCouriers and cost-efficiently manage the air cargo hauling process from start to finish.”
Investors in people
One example of the development opportunities they offer is the ‘Purple Runway’, a pilot pathway programme that offers unique training and a route to the FedEx feeder fleet of aircraft.
Alongside accredited university training courses, MAC can support budding pilots into becoming a FedEx pilot.
MAC’s fleet consists of ATR 42 & 72’s, Cessna 208 and the SkyCourier 408. These aircraft service the regular routes that the firm operates up to 150 times daily to the 55 destinations across the Eastern United States and the Caribbean.
We are a people-first company who prioritizes pilot and maintenance careers with industry-leading quality of life. Having C408 SkyCouriers in our fleet offers tremendous career advancement opportunities for all in the rapidly growing air cargo industry.” Bandalan added.
A growing fleet
At present the fleet includes three SkyCouriers, with plans to add another five by the end of this year. Reasons for adding the 408 over the 208 are twofold.
Its higher freight capacity is over double that of the 208, plus the offering of the most effective cost-per-pound of all MAC’’s options.
The company will use the ATR aircraft for any load of over the 408’s 6,000 pound maximum capacity.
Bill West Jr., vice president of supplemental aircraft operations for FedEx Express concluded by noting how FedEx are eagerly anticipating seeing the 408 project come to fruition: ”We are excited to have the Cessna 408 SkyCourier moving into operations.”
“FedEx was involved in this project all the way back to the design stages, when we mentioned a need for a large cargo door and floor that can handle ULDs and a plane that could carry 6,000 pounds of cargo over 200 miles.”
“This plane is a great addition to our network and helps us in our fleet modernization plan,” he concluded.