FedEx to give up only LGB flight slot after more than 30 years

Transportation, e-commerce and business services company FedEx is relinquishing its last remaining flight slot at Long Beach Airport, which will be re-allocated to another airline, officials confirmed.

The noise-controlled airfield allows a maximum of 53 daily flights and each carrier is allocated a certain number. For more than 30 years, FedEx has had at least one daily flight, and as many as three, at the municipal airport.

“They haven’t been flying it recently,” airport spokeswoman Kate Kuykendall said in an email, “but because there was previously a reprieve on flight slot utilization, they did not have to return it until now.”

Carriers must fly each slot 85% of the time or risk losing it to another operator, according to the airport’s usage rules. Utilization requirements were put on hold amid the pandemic when air travel plummeted but it was reinstated as of July.

There is a waitlist for carriers that want additional slots. At the top of the waitlist is Hawaiian, according to airport spokeswoman Kate Kuykendall, followed by Delta, Southwest, then American.

Current flight slot allocations are 34 for Southwest Airlines, 12 for Delta Air Lines, three for American Airlines and two for Hawaiian Airlines as well as one for both FedEx and UPS.

The airlines have until Sept. 17 to tell airport officials if they want the slot.

The newest carrier in Long Beach, Hawaiian, came to the airport in 2018 with one daily, nonstop flight to Honolulu. For more than two years, Hawaiian was the only airline to offer flights to the island state. In March, Southwest began a direct daily flight to Honolulu.

Hawaiian expanded its service in March with the addition of a nonstop daily flight to Maui and could expand further with an additional flight on its existing routes or to a different island.

FedEx did not immediately respond to request for comment.

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