The airfreight market is changing, and so are the players in it. But who knew Alabama's Huntsville International Airport would become the third-fastest-growing air cargo market in the world, and the fastest outside of Asia?
That's according to Rick Tucker, Huntsville's executive director, who says that in 2006, the airport posted 29.2 percent growth over 2005, handling 68,670 tons of freight, over 90 percent of which was international in either origin or destination. Not bad for an airport serving a city of less than 200,000 people.
It is also the "cargo airport model" to which others aspire, says Michael Webber of Webber Air Cargo. "The problem is that there probably have been more people try to emulate the Huntsville model while having no idea of what it is."
The key to Huntsville is that it was prepared. "We were focused on freight and freight transportation well before we got our first international air cargo flight," Tucker says.. "We built the rail side before we opened the air cargo side. It was the focus we had on airfreight, and accommodating the need of our industry in this area to do business in the global market place."One of the major reasons for the growth is that more cargo is now outbound. "It has always been relatively full on the inbound flights, but now there is a lot more outbound freight to Europe and Latin America." he says.
"We were in position and ready to go when there was another entity in the industry that was looking for an alternative to the traditional gateway, Panalpina," Tucker said. "So we came together and made it work."
Source: Air Cargo World, http://www.aircargoworld.com
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