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FedEx Newsroom

FedEx to Transport Giant Pandas from United States to China Onboard Its New 777F Aircraft

January 28, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C….January 28, 2010–-FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) and the world’s largest express transportation company, is donating its logistical services to transport two giant pandas from the United States to China on February 4, 2010.  Working in conjunction with the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. and Zoo Atlanta, FedEx Express will fly the pandas non-stop from Washington’s Dulles International Airport to Chengdu, China.

Tai Shan, a 4-and-a-half-year-old male panda born at the National Zoo, and Mei Lan, a 3-year-old female panda born at Zoo Atlanta, will travel onboard a custom-decaled FedEx Express 777 Freighter (777F) – known as the “FedEx Panda Express.” 

“FedEx is uniquely qualified to make this special delivery given our long history connecting the U.S. to China and our extensive global experience in shipping precious cargo, from packages to pandas,” said David J. Bronczek, president and CEO, FedEx Express.  “It is a privilege to serve as the trusted carrier of these rare pandas, and we are proud to support the preservation efforts of this endangered species.”  

Currently, conservationists estimate that only 1,600 pandas remain in the wild. Both Tai Shan and Mei Lan are part of global, giant panda conservation programs.

FedEx Express will fly Mei Lan from Atlanta to Washington, D.C., where she will join Tai Shan in preparation for the trans-Atlantic flight. Onboard the 777F aircraft – which is solely dedicated to the pandas’ journey – Tai Shan and Mei Lan will travel in two custom-built transport containers provided by FedEx Express. The pandas will depart Washington, D.C. late morning on February 4 and arrive in Chengdu late afternoon on February 5, approximately 14 ½ hours between take-off and landing. 

The pandas’ flight will be shorter than ever before possible as a result of the fuel-efficient 777F aircraft, the world’s largest twin-engine cargo aircraft and the newest addition to the FedEx global fleet.  In early January 2010, FedEx launched the 777F into international service with a direct connection from Shanghai to the U.S.

In addition to donating all the necessary air transportation, FedEx Express is also providing ground and logistical support in Washington, D.C. and Atlanta.  In both cities, caravans of FedEx vehicles will deliver the pandas to the airport. Local law enforcement will be on hand to ensure a smooth ride for the pandas.  FedEx pilots and drivers selected to transport the pandas are some of the company’s most seasoned team members.

FedEx Express, the National Zoo, Zoo Atlanta and the China organizers in Chengdu have worked collaboratively to ensure all necessary precautions have been taken to provide a safe and comfortable flight for the pandas. Animal care experts from both zoos have been granted special flight privileges to accompany the pandas onboard the aircraft. 

Upon arriving in Chengdu, Tai Shan will be received by the China Wildlife Conservation Association and the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens will take delivery of Mei Lan.  Tai Shan will reside at the China Conservation and Research Center’s Wolong Nature Reserve in Sichuan, China and Mei Lan will reside at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.

Due to security regulations, the departure and arrival events for both pandas will be closed to the general public. However, FedEx will provide updates about the pandas’ journey online at news.fedex.com/pandas.

FedEx Provides Unparalleled Service to China
FedEx Express initiated operations in China in 1984, and today, it is one of the company’s fastest-growing markets.  FedEx currently employs more than 7,000 employees in China and serves 400 cities throughout the country.  FedEx Express is also approaching the one-year anniversary of its new Asia Pacific hub in Guangzhou, China, opened on February 6, 2009.

FedEx Express Transports Many Unusual Shipments
FedEx Express has a long history of transporting rare and delicate cargo.  In 2000, FedEx transported Tai Shan’s parents from China to Washington D.C.’s National Zoo and in 2003, FedEx transported two giant pandas from China to the Memphis Zoo. 

In addition, FedEx has transported polar bears, white tigers, elephants, penguins, lions, gorillas, eagles and even a 13-foot tiger shark used in filming the movie “Jaws.”

Other unusual international cargo transported by FedEx includes a windmill from Denmark, an 11,000-pound helicopter, and a five-ton communications satellite.

About FedEx
FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services.  With annual revenues of $33 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 275,000 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

Note to Editors
For more information on Tai Shan or the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, contact National Zoo Communications at (202) 633-3055 or visit nationalzoo.si.edu.

For more information on Mei Lan or Zoo Atlanta, contact Zoo Atlanta’s Director of Public Relations at (404) 624-5980 or visit www.zooatlanta.org.

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