Judge grants two-week delay in Astar citizenship hearing
The administrative law judge handling the Department of Transportation's inquiry into Astar Air Cargo's fitness to operate in the U.S. domestic market earlier this week postponed further hearings until Oct. 8.
Judge Burton Kolko granted a motion by FedEx to postpone the hearings, which began Aug. 26 and were scheduled to resume Sept. 23 after a recess of several days. FedEx lawyers said the extra time was needed because DHL Worldwide Express and its affiliates had yet to produce documents related to the sale of DHL Airways and communications between the two related companies (now Astar), as required by previous subpoenas, that are necessary for cross-examining witnesses.
'DHL's conduct appears to be part of a deliberate effort to obstruct this proceeding and prejudice the Department's investigation of DHL Airways'/Astar's citizenship,' FedEx counsel Jeffrey Kelsey wrote Kolko. 'It is inconceivable that DHL does not have possession, custody or control of the documents covered by the subpoenas.'
The delay in the proceedings raises questions about whether Kolko will be able to complete recommendations on whether Astar violates U.S. controls on foreign ownership and control of airlines to DOT decision makers by a Dec. 1 deadline.
The case is part of a long-running dispute between FedEx, United Parcel Service and others on one side, and DHL Worldwide Express and its parent Deutsche Post, about whether DHL Airways/Astar is circumventing U.S. rules or whether the company is competing legitimately in the U.S. express package delivery market. 1