FedEx Requests Extension From April To October To Begin Cuba Operations; USPS Began Operations In 2016

During the last several months, United States-based air carriers have sought to delay implementation of certain United States-Republic of Cuba routes, have sought to lessen frequencies of scheduled services, and have sought to reduce the size of aircraft used for scheduled services as they bring into balance the competitive efforts to obtain routes with the reality of profitable operations of those routes.

Now, with Memphis, Tennessee-based FedEx Corporation seeking to delay implementation of its regularly-scheduled cargo services after previously seeking a change to its routing and aircraft type, the bilateral commercial narrative is increasingly problematic for United States companies as it reflects less movement of passengers and packages.

However, this diminishing commercial landscape may be beneficial within the context of the review of United States policies and regulations toward the Republic of Cuba by the Trump Administration.  The less commercial activity that exists may result in fewer changes because there are fewer targets requiring impact.  

1 March 2017


Federal Express Corporation ("FedEx") hereby moves for a six-month extension of time to inaugurate U.S.-Cuba scheduled, all-cargo air services utilizing the five weekly frequencies awarded to FedEx. In Notice of Action Taken, dated July 15, 2016, the Department of Transportation ("the Department") granted FedEx allocation of five weekly frequencies to provide once-daily (i.e., Monday-Friday) all-cargo air services between Miami, Florida (MIA) and Matanzas/Varadero, Cuba (VRA).  Pursuant to the conditions of the Department's award, FedEx must inaugurate its U.S.-Cuba air services with the allocated frequencies within 90 days of its requested January 15, 2017 start-up date, or by April 15, 2017. However, FedEx requests that its U.S.-Cuba air services start-up date be extended until October 15, 2017. This extension is needed to provide FedEx with additional time to work through the doing-business challenges and operational constraints that persist in the Cuba market, given that market's emergent nature and the Cuban regulatory complexities overlaying such matters.

In support of this Motion, FedEx respectfully submits the following:

1. As the only all-cargo participant in the Department's 2016 U.S.-Cuba Frequency Allocation Proceeding, FedEx is pleased to have received authority from the Department to operate five weekly all-cargo flights between MIA and VRA.

2. As previously indicated in this docket, FedEx began the rigorous preparatory and planning work for its Cuba services some time ago. However, FedEx requires a six-month extension of time for inaugurating its MIA-VRA service because of several inextricable dynamics, such as securing and establishing business relationships with Cuban service providers- in relation to air operations support services, customs clearance, andground/deliveryoperations - who would appropriately complement the express delivery services forwhich FedEx is world-renowned while remaining within the limits of the existing, relevant Cuban laws and regulations.

3. The Department's grant of FedEx's extension request would be consistent with the public interest and Department precedent. FedEx remains committed to using its Cuba authority to provide the highest quality of reliable and efficient U.S.-Cuba air express/cargo service, which would maximize the public benefit of the U.S.-Cuba Memorandum of Understanding, for U.S. shippers and commerce alike. The six-month extension requested herein would not impact such longer-term benefits. Moreover, all other U.S. carriers who received U.S.-Cuba authority from the Department have requested, and ultimately received, start-up extensions relating to certain U.S.-Cuba flights.

WHEREFORE, FedEx respectfully requests that the Department grant this Motion for a six-month extension of time, to October 15, 2017, for the start-up of FedEx's scheduled all-cargo air services between Miami, Florida and Matanzas/Varadero, Cuba.

On 7 March 2017, USDOT wrote: “The Department grants the request of Federal Express Corporation (FedEx) for relief, until October 15, 2017, from the 90-day start-up condition applicable to the Monday-Friday Miami-Matanzas frequencies allocated to FedEx by Notice of Action Taken dated July 15, 2016, in this docket. The Department will require that FedEx inaugurate its Monday-Friday Miami-Matanzas service no later than October 15, 2017. We acted on this motion without awaiting expiration of the answer period with the consent of all parties served.”

United States Postal Service Resumes Mail Service to Cuba
First Direct Transportation of Mail Service to Cuba in More Than 50 Years

16 March 2016: WASHINGTON — Today the United States Postal Service announced it resumed direct transportation of mail service with Cuba for the first time in more than 50 years.

"The U.S. Postal Service is pleased to participate in the historic direct transportation of mail service with Cuba," said Postmaster General and CEO Megan J. Brennan. "Moving letter mail and package volume directly between our countries will improve service for businesses and consumers."

The types of mail customers in the U.S. can send to Cuba include First-Class Mail International items, such as postcards and letter size envelopes, First-Class Package International Service items, Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes and Priority Mail International Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes. A comprehensive list of mailing conditions to Cuba can be found in the International Mail Manual at:

USPS To Commence Operations
December 11, 2015

Press Release issued by the Cuban Delegation participating in the Negotiations to Re-establish Direct Postal Service between Cuba and US
MIAMI, December 11, 2015. On Thursday, December 10, the representatives of Cuba and the United States held a new round of talks on the re-establishment of direct postal service between both countries. The Cuban delegation was headed by José Ramón Cabañas Rodríguez, Ambassador of Cuba to the United States; and the US delegation was headed by Lea Emerson, Executive Director for International Postal Affairs at the United States Postal Service.

Both delegations agreed to re-establish direct postal service between the two countries through the implementation of a Pilot Plan for the transportation of mail which will become effective within the next few weeks, with the hope of eventually institutionalizing it on a permanent basis in the future.

After more than five decades without this important service, the direct transportation of mail and postal packages between Cuba and the United States will be available to the citizens of both countries on a date to be announced further on, once the discussion of the technical, operational and safety aspects required for its implementation is completed.

During the meeting, the Cuban delegation set out examples evidencing the impact that the implementation of the US blockade has had on the transactions carried out by Grupo Empresarial Correos de Cuba.

The talks were held in a respectful, professional and constructive ambiance (Cubaminrex).