Ontario airport cargo up 16.1pc in US tops air cargo growth

LOS ANGELES area Ontario International Airport has experienced double-digit growth in air cargo during 2020, reports the San Gabriel Valley Tribune

03 September 2020 - 19:00

LOS ANGELES area Ontario International Airport has experienced double-digit growth in air cargo during 2020, reports the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

ONT was second to Alaska's Ted Stevens Anchorage Airport for air freight tonnage growth from January to May 2020 as compared to 2019, with Anchorage up 18.3 per cent and ONT increasing by 16.1 per cent reported Fitch Ratings, an international credit ratings and research agency.

Out of more than 19,000 airports in the United States, only Ontario International Airport and an airport in Alaska have experienced double-digit growth in air cargo during 2020, a new report revealed.

ONT and Anchorage far outpaced other airports that saw cargo volumes stay flat or decrease during the study's time frame. For example, major cargo hubs including Memphis International, Louisville Muhammad Ali International and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International were flat or nearly the same as compared to the prior year, while Miami International and LAX recorded cargo decreases of 7.8 per cent and five per cent, respectively.

'I am not surprised we've had these cargo numbers,' said airport authority CEO Mark Thorpe. 'Ontario airport is one of the most important places in the world for e-commerce growth because of all the e-warehouses because we sit on the corner of the 10 and 15 freeways.

'What I am shocked at is Louisville and Cincinnati didn't grow as well,' Mr Thorpe said.

Louisville, which grew cargo by 0.9 per cent, contains the UPS worldwide air hub and Cincinnati, which grew cargo by 3.5 per cent, has DHL's cargo hub, the report explained.

The two west coast airports benefited from the urgent need to move personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators and other medical supplies originating in Asia during the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic, Fitch reported.

While Anchorage is a stop-over for flights to and from Asia for refueling and where cargo is often left in the planes, at ONT, three major goods movement companies unload and load planes, moving packages by truck to Inland Empire logistics warehouses. Also, goods flown into ONT are exported to China and US destinations via local departures.

Stay-at-home orders has led millions of Americans to shop online, greatly increasing Amazon's business both on the ground and in the air using their airline, Prime Air.

UPS, Amazon and FedEx fly out of ONT. In addition, the big three goods movement companies have major sorting facilities at the airport. FedEx will complete a 51-acre expansion in November, increasing throughput from 3,000 packages per hour in 2016 to 32,000 by the end of this year, Thorpe said.

'FedEx growth will be exponential,' said Ontario Councilman Alan Wapner, president of the airport authority board. 'Their facility will be close to the same size of UPS.'

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