If the weather’s so bad, why aren’t UPS and FedEx affected?


Compared to previous years, it seems like this spring and summer have been plagued by an unusually large number of rain delays at the major airports. Yet with all the delays impacting passenger airlines, I haven’t seen any news about corresponding delays at UPS, FedEx or other air-based shipping companies.

Passenger airlines generally share the same airports as commercial package delivery carriers. Both groups fly fairly large planes. So why are the shipping companies almost always flying on days that every passenger flight is grounded?

I suspect there are several factors at play. Maybe passenger airlines are scared of the new rules that penalize them for stranding passengers on the runway, so they’d rather just cancel or delay the flights at the slightest hint of bad weather. Perhaps companies like UPS and FedEx have more redundancy in their fleets, so that minor delays at one airport don’t stack up into nationwide stoppages. Either way, the shipping guys are doing something right, and it would probably serve the passenger airlines well to implement similar procedures in their own operations.