“FedEx Panda Express” Brings First Giant Pandas to the United Kingdom in More Than 17 years
LONDON, Nov. 28, 2011–FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) and the world’s largest express transportation company, today announced it is donating its logistical services to transport two giant pandas from China to Scotland on Sunday 4 December, 2011, subject to final regulatory approval. Working in conjunction with the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) and the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) in China, FedEx Express will fly the pandas non-stop from Chengdu Airport in China to Edinburgh Airport in Scotland on a specially-chartered Boeing 777F flight known as the “FedEx Panda Express”.
Tian Tian (甜甜, aka Sweetie), an eight year-old female panda, and Yang Guang (阳光, aka Sunshine), an eight year-old male panda from Chengdu’s Bifengxia Panda Base, will travel onboard a specially panda-decaled FedEx Express Boeing 777F.
Their arrival will mark the first time in more than 17 years that giant pandas will reside in the United Kingdom. The UK’s last giant panda, Ming Ming, left London Zoo to return to China on October 26, 1994.
“FedEx Express is uniquely qualified to make this special delivery given our long history connecting China to the UK and our extensive global experience in shipping precious cargo, from packages to pandas,” said Gerald P. Leary, president, FedEx Express Europe, Middle East, Indian Subcontinent and Africa. “It is a privilege to serve as the trusted carrier of these rare animals, 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 Tian Tian and Yang Guang are part of global giant panda conservation programs, designed to increase the panda population.
Onboard the Boeing 777F aircraft—which is solely dedicated to the pandas’ journey—Tian Tian and Yang Guang will travel in two custom-built transport containers provided by FedEx Express. The pandas will fly from Chengdu Airport direct to Edinburgh Airport. The fuel-efficient Boeing 777F aircraft used for this precious shipment is the world’s largest twin-engine cargo aircraft and the newest addition to the FedEx Express global fleet.
In addition to donating the air transportation, FedEx Express is providing ground and logistical support in Edinburgh, including a specially-decaled FedEx Express vehicle to deliver the pandas to Edinburgh Zoo. Lothian and Borders Police Force will be on hand to ensure a smooth ride for these VIP’s—Very Important Pandas.
FedEx Express, Edinburgh Zoo, and Chengdu’s Bifengxia Panda Base have worked collaboratively to ensure all necessary precautions have been taken to provide a safe and comfortable flight for the pandas. Animal care experts have been granted special flight privileges to accompany the pandas onboard the aircraft. Upon arrival, the pandas will reside in Edinburgh Zoo’s specially-built giant panda enclosure.
“The arrival of Tian Tian and Yang Guang is an historic occasion for Edinburgh Zoo. We have been looking forward to this moment for five years now, since the Zoo first embarked on this epic journey to bring giant pandas to Scotland. Our dedicated team has worked tirelessly to create a world-class enclosure to house our newest additions, which will offer visitors a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view these extraordinary animals,” said Hugh Roberts, Chief Executive, Edinburgh Zoo.
“With the arrival of the giant pandas, the Zoo has further cemented its role in the future conservation of one of the world’s most endangered species. This is the beginning of a long-term relationship which will drive a program of international research and education and will have massive benefit for the Zoo, Scotland and the UK.”
Due to security regulations, the departure and arrival events of the pandas will be closed to the general public, but people can follow the pandas’ journey at blog.fedex.com/panda-express.
FedEx Express Transports Many Unusual Shipments
FedEx Express has a long history of transporting rare and delicate cargo. In February 2010, FedEx Express transported Tai Shan, a male panda born at the National Zoo in Washington D.C., U.S., and Mei Lan, a female panda born at Zoo Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., back to China. In 2003, FedEx Express transported two giant pandas from China to the Memphis Zoo, Tennessee, U.S. In 2000, FedEx Express transported Tai Shan’s parents from China to Washington D.C.’s National Zoo.
Exotic cargo transported by FedEx Express has included polar bears, white tigers, elephants, penguins, mountain 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, the Ryder Cup and a vintage Jaguar Le Mans car worth more than £1 million.
About FedEx Express
FedEx Express is the world’s largest express transportation company, providing fast and reliable delivery to more than 220 countries and territories. FedEx Express uses a global air-and-ground network to speed delivery of time-sensitive shipments, by a definite time and date with a money-back guarantee.
FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. With annual revenues of $40 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 290,000 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.
About the Boeing 777 Freighter
The Boeing Company produces a complete line of commercial freighter airplanes, including the 777 Freighter. The Boeing 777 Freighter is the world’s largest and most capable twin-engine freighter. The unsurpassed efficiency and flexibility of the 777 Freighter has resulted in a significant number of customer orders, with FedEx Express as the largest customer. FedEx Express has taken delivery of 14 Boeing 777 Freighters and has orders for 31 more.