The Need to Embrace Challenges as Opportunities in the Aviation Industry


A vice president for FedEx Corporation says the aviation industry must continue to embrace growth and innovation.

Aviation is not only a growing industry, it’s absolutely essential to global commerce. Logistics companies like FedEx continue to succeed in this field through innovation, the reliance on integrated communications and services. Thankfully, the forecast for continued growth in the aviation industry is strong. But that bright future has challenges ahead as neither our current infrastructure nor regulatory systems are capable of keeping up with demand.

In order to continue finding success we need to streamline regulatory processes, embrace innovation and open opportunities for trade. Unfortunately, there are those who respond to the increasing demands on our aviation system by seeking to impose more regulations, curtail trade opportunities and preserve outdated technology. In the global economy of the 21st century, these misguided efforts do not well serve our industry.

Commercial aviation is critical to the economic health of the U.S. as it drives more than 11 million American jobs and 5 cents of every dollar of GDP.

Commercial aviation is critical to the economic health of the U.S. as it drives more than 11 million American jobs and 5 cents of every dollar of GDP. 

Furthermore, the aviation industry contributes to the broader economy and supports small and medium sized American businesses through increased connectivity and trade. In fact, the commercial aviation industry accounts for nearly $1.5 trillion in annual economic activity.

In order to meet the demands for expediency and volume in today’s global world, America must modernize our Air Traffic Control system so that the innovations, efficiencies and safety offered through NextGen can be implemented in a timely manner.

At FedEx we see globalization as an opportunity for innovation as ecommerce expands trade opportunities. This is at the very heart of what continues to make FedEx the world’s largest express transportation company. We have gone from 14 planes handling 186 packages on our first night of operations in 1973, to over 650 aircraft and 90,000 vehicles transporting 11 million packages in a single day to over 220 countries and territories.

In order to maintain U.S. growth in the aviation industry, we must modernize trade rules to streamline customs and simplify regulatory processes. America must also expand, not contract, our policy of Open Skies. Global cargo networks, essential to the U.S. economy, job creation and global commerce, could not exist without access to markets and airports that Open Skies agreements provide.

Aviation connects the world. This reality presents challenges and choices, some we anticipate and other we cannot.  As an industry and a country, we must embrace vital innovation, update and reconfigure our Air Traffic Control System and seek out the growth opportunities occasioned by robust trade agreements and Open Skies--this is the path to the future we envision.   

Gina Adams is a senior vice president with FedEx Corporation.