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HAVANA, Jan 2th FedEx Corp. dropped a plan to begin cargo flights to Cuba, as an opening between the U.S. and the  country has foundered.

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HAVANA, March 7th Following an epidemic of delays and capacity reductions by American carriers, FedEx has filed for a six-month extension to inaugurate U.S.- Cuba scheduled, all-cargo air services.

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havaan-live-FedexHAVANA, June 18th FedEx Corp. won’t be flying a big cargo plane into Havana anytime soon.

The express delivery giant dropped its bid to operate to Cuba’s capital and is now requesting U.S. regulatory clearance to fly five times a week between Miami and the smaller resort town of Varadero in the province of Matanzas.

In a downsizing of its near-term ambitions, the company also said it would use a Cessna 208 aircraft, which is far smaller than the Boeing 757 it initially proposed for the Miami-Havana route.

Using Varadero as the base for FedEx’s initial operations “would be the more optimal use of its resources under current Cuba marketplace conditions,” it added in the amended application.

A company spokeswoman declined Friday to elaborate on those market conditions or the reason behind the changes. The company reiterated its “strong interest’’ in providing all-cargo transportation service between the countries.

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The decision comes amid heated competition for U.S. passenger flight routes to Havana. The Transportation Department last week awarded six U.S. airlines rights to secondary Cuban airports but said it would wait until the summer to apportion flights to the capital after receiving three times more requests than the 20 available daily slots.

FedEx said Friday it plans to provide trucking service from Varadero to Havana, the special development zone in Mariel and Santiago de Cuba. Veradero’s Juan Gualberto Gomez International Airport is roughly 70 miles east of Havana.

The company requested a start date of Jan. 15, 2017 in Thursday’s amended application, citing “the complexities of setting up operations in Cuba with ground and customs clearance capabilities.”

That is later than U.S. passenger airlines plan to arrive on the island nation. American Airlines Group Inc., the largest U.S. airline by traffic, said this week its first Cuban-bound flights will depart Sept. 7 to Cienfuegos and Holguin.

FedEx noted in the amended application that it remains the only all-cargo applicant for U.S.-Cuba scheduled air services. The shift in planned operations, however, suggests tourism, not trade, will take off sooner as the U.S. loosens decades-long travel restrictions to Cuba.

FedEx delivery rival United Parcel Service Inc. confirmed Friday it hasn’t filed an application yet.

“UPS continues to assess the opportunity to provide services to and from Cuba. As trade lanes open and demand for delivery services increases, UPS will take appropriate action to meet the needs of our global customers,” it added in a statement.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/fedex-downsizes-cuba-ambitions-in-amended-flight-request-1466190373

international-resource-center_700x300_HeaderHAVANA,April 06  FedEx wants to operate a B757 freighter to provide expedited and general airfreight services from Monday to Friday between Miami and Havana, Cuba with a return flight via Mérida, Mexico commencing September 01, 2016.

In a filing with the U.S. Department of Transportation, the company says it is making a “very modest request” in seeking to operate five out of the 140 weekly flights that are available to U.S. airlines.

If approved, FedEx says it will set up a trucking network linking three additional Cuban cities: Mariel (with its port and developing trade zone), Santiago de Cuba, and Varadero, a major tourist destination. As a result the company would link nearly 1,000 U.S./Cuba city pairs with a single flight.

According to David Cunningham, FedEx Corporation executive vice president and COO, the B757 operation from its Miami hub is primarily designed for U.S. and Cuban shippers while its backhaul routing via Mexico allows the company to replace existing Convair 500 capacity and make the overall operation economically viable.

Noting that combination airlines would be offering belly freight services limited by “significant passenger baggage volumes that typify many Cuba visitors’ luggage haul”, FedEx said a single B757 freighter would be the right thing to do for U.S. trade with the emerging economy.

“Cargo services, especially those which facilitate trade in high value goods, are not luxuries or frills in a scheduled air transportation market, but a necessity, offering greater economic value over carrying belly cargo on combination aircraft. FedEx’s services are also important to small businesses seeking to participate in the global market,” it argued.

With the expansion of the U.S. Export Administration Regulations to allow the export of high-value goods including computers, Cuba is a potential market for U.S. businesses that use airfreight according to the company.

In addition, FedEx says the U.S. Postal Service will need air cargo support for a renewed link with Cuba, as will the U.S. State Department and the Department of Defense with its existing naval facilities at Guantanamo Bay.

“Offering the best services, connecting to the largest network, providing tools for regulatory compliance and possessing the financial security to maintain the service, a grant to FedEx in this proceeding is the best step that the Department can take to advance U.S.-Cuba trade,” the company concluded.

http://www.freightweek.org/~freightw/index.php/latest-news/96-integrators/1996-fedex-to-link-miami-with-cuba