Stamford, CT—Although the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allowed the opening of U.S. airports at 11 a.m. (EST) Thursday with limited flights, it remains unclear when the major parcel carriers would get express packages to their recipients. Since the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington, Federal Express, the U.S. Postal Service, and United Parcel Service either deferred express shipments to their ground services or have held express packages.
“We expect our first plane will go up this afternoon,” Federal Express spokesperson Jesse Bunn told CATALOG AGE at about 2:15 Thursday afternoon. Once in the air, “we’ll do the best we can by striking the best balance possible between our air and ground transportation to make sure packages keep moving.”
The U.S. Postal Service, which relies primarily on commercial airliners as well as FedEx for its air shipments, was less optimistic. “Even if the airlines take off, I’m hearing that mail won’t be let on for several days, so we’ll have to continue using mostly ground delivery,” said USPS spokesperson Mark Saunders. “Mail is always the lowest priority on commercial air transport anyway.”
Neither Saunders nor Bunn would speculate how long the delivery delays would be once things return to normal. But Ken Sternad, a spokesperson for United Parcel Service, said that all overnight delivery packages delayed by the FAA airport closings would be delivered by Friday. Some two-day and three-day packages were diverted to UPS’s ground system during the past two days, so they might not arrive until next Monday or Tuesday.