Air and ocean forwarder Flexport filed a complaint against Western Global Airlines (WGA) in a U.S. District Court in New York, alleging that “service failures” led to the carrier’s inability to meet the contractual obligations of a three-year operational leasing agreement the two parties signed last year. Under the deal, Western Global was to operate a 747-400BCF on behalf of Flexport through March 31, 2021. According to the filing, dated July 10, flights operated by WGA for Flexport ceased on July 7 after Flexport moved to terminate the agreement.
Flexport has since relied on lift from Atlas Air, which is operating a 747-400 production freighter along similar routes connecting Hong Kong (HKG), Los Angeles (LAX) and Chicago (ORD) for the forwarder.
According to the court filing, Western Global faced mechanical problems with its 747F and instead utilized an MD-11 freighter, which was older and smaller than the 747, and faced its own mechanical problems. The basis for moving to terminate the contract, however, was Flexport’s claim that, based on On Time Performance reports submitted by Western Global, the carrier did not meet its contractually mandated 80% schedule reliability rate in March and April.
For its part, Western Global disputed that it failed to meet its contracted schedule reliability threshold, telling Air Cargo World, “not a single delay was actually a carrier controllable delay and WGA’s performance was in fact 100% during the period raised by Flexport.”
Flexport also said that Western Global continued to invoice Flexport for flights and “termination fees,” and asked the court to rule in its favor that Flexport “properly terminated the agreement.”
The carrier added that it “intends to hold Flexport fully liable for the damages it has caused WGA, including that Flexport owes WGA for all remaining sums due under the parties’ contract.” Western Global also denied Flexport’s standing to file the complaint in the court at all, as according to the company, the parties are contractually obligated to first proceed through mediation and arbitration.