January 2019 | News | Global Logistics

FedEx Abandons Cuba Airfreight Service

Tags: Air Cargo, Global Logistics, Logistics

Improved relations between the United States and Cuba have hit an impasse, leading FedEx Corp. to drop a plan to begin cargo flights to the communist country.

FedEx "will not be filing for an extension of the startup date for U.S.-Cuba cargo air service between Miami and Varadero," according to a recent statement. The company is abandoning its right to fly five weekly frequencies and evaluating "alternative all-cargo service options to Cuba," according to a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

FedEx's withdrawal ends more than two years of effort to start service to Cuba, which began when former President Barack Obama sought to normalize ties with the island. Relations have chilled under President Donald Trump, whose administration enacted new restrictions in 2017 on Americans traveling to Cuba and on the ability to do business with a list of government-controlled businesses.

FedEx won U.S. approval for cargo flights to Cuba in 2016; in 2017, it cited a series of obstacles to starting the service, including finding local partners and securing airport ground services. The carrier currently lists Cuba as among the countries it doesn't serve.