FedEx on Wednesday confirmed that it is closing its Hong Kong pilot base, citing the city's Covid regulations as being partly behind its decision.
"As the global business environment continues to evolve and with the pandemic requirements in Hong Kong, FedEx has made the decision to close its Hong Kong crew base and relocate its pilots," the global delivery giant said in a statement to RTHK.
However, the company said it will maintain its operations in Hong Kong.
"We continue to operate and serve our customers in this important market with the safety and well-being of our team members as our top priority," it said.
A spokesman said FedEx is proud of the way its staff have continued to operate through "difficult circumstances" to keep the global supply chain moving around the world, adding that the firm will provide support during the workers' relocation.
A logistics scholar at Polytechnic University, Achim Czerny, said: “I don’t think this was an easy decision for FedEx given the importance of Hong Kong for global air cargo markets. FedEx’s decision is an indicator for the high costs associated with the current travel restrictions for air cargo companies.”
“My feeling is that the FedEx’s decision will be a rather short term. The longer term development of the air cargo market in Hong Kong is not going to depend on this. But the expansion of the airport will make it more attractive for the air cargo business and helps grow the air cargo business in Hong Kong. That means that companies like FedEx will participate. They will be part of that development.”