MIAMI – FedEx (FX), the world’s largest delivery firm, stated this week that it was closing its Hong Kong crew base and relocating pilots overseas, citing coronavirus limitations as the reason.
The move is the latest setback to Hong Kong’s image as a global logistics powerhouse, as the city is isolated from the rest of the world by draconian travel restrictions and tight quarantine procedures.
In a company document, FX’s system chief pilot Robin Sebasco said that the airline needed to adjust to the global economic, regulatory, and business environment, hinting that the carrier’s plan to relocate its pilots out of the city in January was now permanent.
Industry insiders said the move reflected the government’s rigorous quarantine laws, which are making it more difficult for firms to function. However, the decision isn’t expected to affect FX’s flights into and out of the city, which are mostly managed by California-based pilots.
While Hong Kong has had nearly no local coronavirus infections for months as part of its zero-COVID plan, the city is effectively walled off from the rest of the world, even as the rest of the world reopens, due to the mandatory 2-day hotel quarantine for anyone returning from foreign countries.
According to airlinegeeks.com, an FX spokesperson said the company would indeed “continue to retain its operations in Hong Kong, which are crucial to our Asia-Pacific and global network.”
She added that closing the local pilot base would enable FX “to continue to staff our Hong Kong and Asia flights without being subject to Hong Kong immigration restrictions.”
Featured image: FedEx MD-10. Photo: Luca Flores/Airways