AirBridgeCargo granted U.S. routes as foreign airlines file for access

A ruling by the Unites States Department of Transportation (DOT) granted AirBridgeCargo Airlines the rights to operate “scheduled foreign air transportation of property and mail” between the Russian Federation and the American cities of Seattle, Columbus, Boston, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco.

AirBridgeCargo already operates flights to the U.S., including weekly freighter service departing Houston on Monday evenings via Chicago and Luxembourg to Abu Dhabi, then returning to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. However, the Sept. 1 ruling grants the carrier significantly more access.

The DOT also recently granted Silk Way West Airlines a foreign carrier air permit, following a two-year bureaucratic battle with a rival carrier National Airlines. In addition, Saudi Arabian Airlines applied late last month for an amended foreign air carrier permit to provide foreign air transportation of persons, property and mail between Saudi Arabia and the U.S.

The Saudi airline’s request seeks authority for both “charter foreign air transportation of passengers (and their accompanying baggage) between Saudi Arabia and any point or points in the United States and beyond; and all-cargo service, between the United States and any point or points.”

Yet, even as foreign airlines line up for slots into U.S. airports, the latest International Air Transit Association (IATA) numbers suggest that they will be competing for slim pickings. While this July’s North American international FTKs were up, year-over-year, by 1.3 percent, they were down, y-o-y, by 2.3 percent for the first seven months of 2016.


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