Not many people realize that FedEx operated 737-200s in the late 1970s and early 1980s, back when they were known as Federal Express.
Federal Express ordered five 737-200Cs in 1978, four directly from Boeing and one through lessor ILFC. All were delivered by the end of 1979. These aircraft were convertible models, meaning they could easily be changed from freight to passenger configuration and vice versa. It's been said that Federal Express had been considering flying passenger flights during the day and weekends when Federal Express' aircraft were sitting idle (something almost unthinkable today). Whatever the reason for the acquisition, Federal Express quickly decided that the 737 wasn't working out. By the end of 1981, after a short stay of only two years, all five had left the fleet. The 727 remained FedEx's only narrowbody aircraft for nearly 30 years until the 757 began to replace them.
All five 737-200s appear at the end of this 727 lineup in Memphis on a quiet Sunday afternoon in 1980.
Credit: Bob Bostick