Federal Express Pilot Hat Badge 4th Issue
Memphis, TN 1971-Current
Fred Smith founded the Federal Express Corporation in 1971. It was originally founded in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1971, as Smith was operating Little Rock Airmotive there. After a lack of support from the Little Rock Airport, Smith moved the company to Memphis, Tennesseein 1973. The company started overnight operations on April 17, 1973 that connected twenty-five cities in the United States. That night, 18 packages were carried. Smith raised somewhere between $50 and $70 million from twenty of the USA's leading risk venture speculators. A 1977 legislative change removed restrictions on the routes operated by all-cargo airlines, and enabled Federal Express to purchase its first large aircraft. In 1980, Federal Express began service to a further 90 cities in the United States. Later in 1981 it started international operations with service to Canada, and officially opened its "SuperHub" at the Memphis International Airport. Federal Express' sales topped $1 billion for the first time in 1983. In 1989, the company acquired Flying Tiger Airlines to expand its international service. As the volume of international shipments increased, Federal Express created Clear Electronic Customs Clearance System to expedite regulatory clearance while cargo is en route. In 1994, Federal Express adopted the "FedEx" name, formalizing the abbreviation that until then was unofficial. In 2000, the company officially dropped the "Federal Express" name and became "FedEx Express" to distinguish its express shipping service from others offered by its parent company FedEx Corporation.