FedEx Express is a major global freight carrier headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, with its main hub at Memphis International Airport. Part of FedEx Group, FedEx Express operates to over 370 airports in more than 220 countries and territories globally, from six US and four international hubs. FedEx Express operates a fleet of more than 500 aircraft delivering everything from small packages to heavy freight worldwide.
In Aug-2015, FedEx and TNT announced the publication of the offer document for FedEx's public cash offer for all issued and outstanding ordinary shares in the capital of TNT Express. The proposed merger was cleared by the New Zealand Commerce Commission, European Commission, Brazilian antitrust, Australian Consumer and will be subject to Chinese authorities for final approval. In Feb-2016, ASL Aviation Group reached an agreement to acquire the airline operations of TNT Express, comprising TNT Airways and Pan Air Líneas Aéreas. ASL also entered a multi-year service agreement to operate services for the intended FedEx-TNT combination, subject to the completion of the acquisition. The merger is expected to be complete by mid-2016.
Location of FedEx main hub (Memphis International Airport)
Fedex share price
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Tentative approval was finally granted by the Us DoT for Norwegian Air International to introduce long haul, low cost service from Europe to the US. Even though the opponents have successfully lobbied legislators to introduce prohibiting legislation, this was a milestone in the contentious debate about open skies agreements, as well as the intricacies of labour law and foreign ownership requirements. There was a lively debate on this topic at CAPA's Americas Aviation Summit, under the guidance of CNN anchor, Richard Quest.
However, in the larger scheme of liberalisation Norwegian’s victory is a small step in what appears to be a long journey for a mindset change: to create new paradigms in the rapidly changing global aviation industry. In the US aviation landscape the easing of foreign ownership restrictions remains a non-starter, which means that joint ventures will continue to serve as stand-ins for cross-border ownership. As the status quo remains, and members of large global alliances holding anti-trust immunity dominate markets such as the trans-Atlantic, Norwegian’s ability to inject low cost competition is welcome, and a logical development.
A recent review of Canada’s transport policy that recommends lifting foreign ownership caps in the country’s airlines to 49% could benefit aspiring ULCCs and the dominant incumbent airlines alike. The country’s airlines have limited access to capital, and a change in ownership regulations could allow those entities to enlarge and diversify their capital base.
The ULCC start-up NewLeaf Travel obviously supports a change in the foreign ownership rules of Canadian airlines, but in the meantime the company has opted to capitalise on existing capacity in Canada in order to become a first mover into the ultra-low cost space. NewLeaf believes that there is a large number of disenfranchised passengers in Canada who no longer travel by air due to higher prices and difficulty in travelling from secondary markets.
The policy review also offers recommendations to privatise some of Canada’s airports, which is no doubt welcomed by the country’s airlines. But the reality is that Canada’s aviation landscape will remain status quo for the foreseeable future as the government and other stakeholders evaluate the suggestions offered in the report.
The evaluation process that airlines use to determine the viability of international routes goes far beyond merely calculating potential profitability. Myriad considerations need to be undertaken, including ease of doing business with governments, infrastructure constraints and the customer experience of passengers travelling to the end destination.
Although American and Delta continue to trumpet the need for government-to-government consultations between the US and the UAE and Qatar regarding open skies agreements with those countries, fully liberalised air service pacts remain the cornerstone for international expansion from the US. Particularly so for airports outside the hub systems of the three large global US network airlines.
A pending open skies agreement with Brazil, a new bilateral with Mexico and the recently concluded agreement to resume scheduled flights between the US and Cuba have created new opportunities for US airlines to broaden their reach in Latin America and the Caribbean. But there are obviously inherent risks in undertaking expansion to those regions, and the rewards from growing on routes to those countries may only manifest themselves in the medium to long term.
One of the world’s largest airports is under construction close to Mexico City and will open in four years or less. It will replace the existing Mexico City Juarez International Airport, which has become a byword for congestion.
A decision in favour of the new airport took decades to come to fruition. Latterly the yes/no debate also brought into play the potential expansion of any of a number of smaller airports in and around the Mexico City metropolitan area. The most favoured was Toluca Airport (TLC), to the west of the city in a separate township that is a principal industrial sector for the whole of Mexico.
Eventually, the expansion of Toluca Airport – which has the country’s longest runway – was overlooked in favour of building a new greenfield airport, thus raising the question of what Toluca’s future would amount to.
This report looks at present and future growth trends at the airport, local airport statistics, how Toluca matches up to competing airports across a range of metrics, at any construction activities and at its ownership. It concludes that Toluca Airport does have a future role as long as certain advantages remain in play.
Airlines and airports are feeling the impact of the current global economic weakness and declining consumer spending in Europe, which is having a noticeable impact on air cargo volumes. Cargo traffic, which generated USD66 billion in revenue in 2010, has declined every month since May-2011, according to IATA upon the release of its Oct-2011 traffic results, with a 4.7% year-on-year reduction in cargo demand in Oct-2011 amid reduced manufacturing confidence and businesses switching to slower modes of transport.
“Cargo is the story of the month. Since mid-year the market has shrunk by almost 5% and this is far greater than the 1% fall in world trade. Air freight is among the first sectors to suffer when businesses confidence declines,” IATA director general and CEO Tony Tyler said. Meanwhile, Boeing CEO Jim McNerney separately stated the company has seen a softening of freight demand in recent months, describing the freight market as a “watch item”.
In our examination of US hubs, Memphis stood out as its geography makes it vulnerable to being downsized. The latest announcements from Delta make that outcome more plausible.