MIAMI — On the U.S. side, only American, Delta, and United have been vocal when it comes to the Open Skies agreement between the United States and the Gulf carriers with Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar being vocal on the Gulf side. The DOT has not made any official statements other than that they are looking into the case that the U.S. airlines have presented to the DOT and Obama Administration.
Then, There is FedEx.
At the 2015 Phoenix Aviation Symposium, an executive was asked to make a few comments during the Open Skies panel; the executive pointed out that FedEx has more overlapping with the Gulf carriers than the U.S. carriers and that the Open Skies agreement impacts FedEx and UPS more than it does the U.S. airlines. He also said that FedEx would come out with an official statement sometime in the coming weeks.
Finally on Monday, May 18, FedEx released a statement on its blog made by Rush O’Keefe, Jr. the Senior Vice President and General Counsel at FedEx Express, and it read:
If you have opened a newspaper recently or visited our nation’s capital, you have probably read or heard about the Open Skies aviation policy. FedEx cares very deeply about Open Skies and seeks every opportunity to let others know how these agreements benefit our customers, our industry, U.S. shippers and the economy as a whole. Recently the President and CEO of FedEx Express, David Bronczek, sent a letter to the Secretaries of State, Transportation and Commerce on this critical issue.
Open Skies agreements are extremely valuable to FedEx and other U.S. cargo carriers because they provide access to important global marketplaces. Through these agreements with 115 countries, FedEx is able to:
- Connect U.S. businesses with global marketplaces. Large and small businesses that employ Americans in every state depend on Open Skies to grow their business and expand U.S. trade.
- Operate our own aircraft on major international routes, not only creating job opportunities for U.S. crews, but also offering our customers critical access to over 220 countries.
- Create a global network of international hubs, supporting the work and employment of over 300,000 FedEx team members worldwide.
Delta, American and United Airlines want to avoid competition by closing the skies to trade and economic growth. Competition forms the basis for the FedEx business model and is at the very heart of our offering the best service at the best price to FedEx customers around the world.
FedEx established a hub in Dubai as part of our global network in order to effectively reach customers in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. As a result, we currently operate nearly two-thirds more flights to the Middle East than all the U.S. passenger carriers combined.
FedEx urges the U.S. government to honor all of its Open Skies agreements. Failure to do so will have significant repercussions for our global consumers, our more than 300,000 team members worldwide and the American economy.
We are proud to say we aren’t alone. We stand with others including the Cargo Airline Association and the Business Travel Coalition when we issue our strong support for Open Skies as well as other U.S. and international airlines. We all agree that we must keep our skies open for business.
The statement was definitely a slap in the face to American, Delta, and United who’s CEOs spoke on the issue at the May National Press Club Luncheon. Now that most parties have presented their cases to the U.S. government, they should be making a decision on what actions they will pursue, if any, sometime relatively soon.