FedEx Ground CEO: Large-Scale Drone Delivery Not Practical

In town to tout the opening of FedEx Ground’s huge new distribution hub in Middletown, the company’s president and CEO said he is skeptical of large-scale drone delivery.

Henry J. Maier, who has spent 30 years at FedEx Ground including the last five as head of the company, said drone use should be pursued for dangerous work and specialized applications, but not as a primary package delivery method.

“The problem with drones is the following: they’re a single-use,” Maier said. “A year ago on Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, FedEx Ground handled about 22 million packages, that’s a lot of drones in the air. I’m not sure that they’re really practical because of that.”

He said drones are already used within the company for tasks like inventory, where they can substitute for putting a worker in a scissor lift.

Officials have welcomed FedEx and the expected economic activity it will encourage throughout the region. Middletown lost a huge chunk of tax revenue when Aetna closed and demolished its office park on the property in 2011.

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