Airports shift their focus to air cargo to meet demand for next-day delivery.
Hoping to catch up to a surge in demand for the speedy delivery of goods in the pandemic, airports are building new hubs for air cargo carriers.
Since the pandemic started nearly a year ago, 15,000 fewer people arrive and depart daily from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, known as CVG. But its four runways handle a record amount of air cargo — nearly 4,000 tons a day. A new construction project there will become the center of Amazon Air’s national air transport network, writes Keith Schneider for The New York Times.
The new facility, under construction on a 640-acre site along the airport’s southern boundary, is scheduled to open in the fall. It will feature a 798,000-square-foot sorting center, seven-level parking structure and acres of freshly poured concrete to accommodate 20 aircraft.
The new building is a signal measure of Amazon’s influence as the largest online retailer and its dedication to fast delivery. Both have helped generate a wave of air cargo construction at airports across the United States.
FedEx, the world’s largest air cargo carrier, just opened a $290 million, 51-acre project at the Ontario International Airport in Southern California.
Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, the second-largest air cargo airport in the United States after Memphis International Airport, is planning for $500 million in new freight and package handling and sorting facilities.
At Chicago Rockford International, plans are underway to build a 90,000-square-foot cargo facility. As soon as it opens in the spring, the airport will start another 100,000-square-foot cargo project for DB Schenker, Emery Air and Senator International.
“The traffic in cargo is responsible for all the new demand at airports now,” said Rex J. Edwards, an industry analyst and vice president of the Campbell-Hill Aviation Group, a Northern Virginia consulting firm. “That is the evolution of the business now.”
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