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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Federal Express Jet to Begin Flights at Vnukovo

Express transportation giant Federal Express will begin service with its own cargo aircraft to and from Moscow's Vnukovo Airport on Wednesday in a bid to significantly boost its Russia operations.

FedEx is using a Boeing 727-200 jet for deliveries on the Moscow-U.S.-Western Europe route, making it the first express carrier to use its own airplane for shipping to and from Moscow, company officials said at a news conference.

"Russia has created an environment in which the demand for services that link its business community to other countries and regions is growing fast," said David Bronczek, senior vice president of Federal Express.

"If all goes well in the next few years, Moscow should become the hub of our Eastern European operations," he said.

Federal Express claims to have a 5 percent chunk of the Russian air shipping market, in which its main competitors are DHL and TNT Express.

But Bronczek said the current growth rate of 40 percent in the air express market is less than half of projected annual growth of 100 percent, and that his company aims to take advantage of the demand.

FedEx will run five Moscow flights a week, routing traffic through its Eastern Europe transshipment center in Frankfurt, which in turn links to its European hub in Paris.

The company will have its own airport warehouse facilities to expedite customs clearance and ensure Moscow-wide deliveries by 10:30 a.m. The company says it also will be able to offer 10:30 a.m. next-day service to North America and Western Europe.

By operating its own aircraft, the company said, it will be able to handle a wider range of cargoes, including heavy items and dangerous goods that are restricted commodities for most other airline carriers.

Vnukovo spokesman Alexander Orlov said the deal with FedEx would lend weight to the airport's endeavor to boost its international-airport status. The deal also is expected to create jobs and help upgrade equipment at the airport.