Federal Express Corp. has asked the U.S. Department of Transportation to award it at least one more flight to China. In a statement filed with DOT late Friday, FedEx did not contest the agency's designation of United Parcel Service as the fourth U.S. air carrier entitled to serve the U.S.-China market, nor did it challenge the department's award of six flights a week to UPS.
But FedEx vigorously objected to DOT's decision to award three of the four remaining flights to United Airlines and Northwest Airlines, the other carriers currently serving China. FedEx, which received the right to one additional frequency, thus raising its total to 11 flights a week, called the decision 'fundamentally unfair.' The express carrier noted that it would be unable to offer 'double daily service' to its destinations in China - Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.
'FedEx has done more than either Northwest or United to promote export opportunities so critical to the competitiveness of the U.S. economy,' said the carrier, which had sought eight of the 10 new frequencies available to U.S. airlines next April under the bilateral aviation agreement between the United States and China.
In a tentative decision announced Nov. 21, DOT awarded two new flights to United, which will use them to offer daily passenger service between San Francisco and Shanghai, up from five flights a week now. Northwest will use its additional flight to add a third weekly freighter flight to Shanghai.
While saying that it should have received all four of the flights not given to UPS, FedEx said it would be satisfied with one more frequency. That would allow it to offer six flights a week to Beijing and Shanghai, and another six to Shenzhen, a booming industrial city in southern China next to Hong Kong.
Interested parties have until Dec. 26 to file responses to comments submitted last week by FedEx and other parties. American Airlines Delta Air Lines and Polar Air Cargo had also applied for the right to become the fourth carrier in the market, but none of them is challenging the award to UPS.
DOT is expected to issue a final decision before Jan. 20 when the Clinton administration leaves office.