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FedEx donates plane to SUSLA

FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. and the world's largest express transportation company, made a huge delivery today to Southern University at Shreveport.  The delivery came unboxed and from end to end measured 153 feet long.  It was a 209,500-pound Boeing 727-200 freighter that was donated to the university's Aerospace Technology Center to support training for students enrolled in the university's aerospace program.

The aircraft taxied through a canopy of water arches in a formal arrival ceremony after touching down this morning at Shreveport Downtown Airport for presentation to the university. Attending the event were local dignitaries, university and airport officials and FedEx representatives and other employees.  FedEx also filmed the arrival for a "big screen" replay Nov. 29 in the Superdome during pre-game festivities at the annual Bayou Classic between Southern University and Grambling State University. 

"As we retire this 727 from our fleet, we are proud to give back to the aviation community," David Sutton, managing director of Aircraft Acquisition and Sales for FedEx, said.  "The donation of this aircraft is just one example of the many ways FedEx supports educational endeavors, reflecting the community spirit shared by all FedEx employees in the cities and towns where we live and work."

Sutton praised the cooperation with university and local officials for the coordination effort required to place the donated aircraft in Shreveport.  He noted the "hands-on training value" the large freighter will provide to the university system's aerospace program students.

"At a time of challenge for corporations in a soft economy it is refreshing and comforting to know that a company like FedEx continues to maintain a focus on education, which drives economic development," Dr. Ray Belton, chancellor of Southern University, said.  "Southern University at Shreveport will be greatly enhanced by such a substantial instructional resource for those students matriculating in our aerospace technology program.  We are honored and appreciative to FedEx for their most generous support."

"This gift will be an incredible asset to aviation in Shreveport and the entire three-state region served by our community," Shreveport Mayor Cedric B. Glover said. "Because of the high number of aircraft mechanics forecast to retire in the next few years, having the students train on an actual 727 will help them enter the workforce trained to meet the aviation industry's needs."

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