Rockford Airport experiences first cargo volume increase in two years

From press release

Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) saw a 3.7 percent increase in cargo volume in December, the first increase in two years. Last month, 124,738,360 pounds of cargo landed at RFD, up from the 120,248,250 pounds that landed in December 2009.

The increase is the result of an uptick in traffic by RFD’s longtime cargo airlines, UPS and DB Schenker. With a continued rebound in traffic by those carriers and the anticipated addition of regularly scheduled international cargo flights in 2011, RFD officials expect further growth this coming year.

“We’re hopeful that December’s increase becomes a trend, and we’re glad for our cargo partners that they’re seeing more business,” said airport Executive Director Bob O’Brien. “This recession, though, has highlighted RFD’s need to diversify its cargo business by bringing in international flights to complement what is already here. We continue to make progress in gaining the attention of international cargo airlines and freight forwarders, and the results will be more jobs, more economic development and more revenue.”

RFD officials are in continued discussions with international cargo operators who are looking for a more efficient and less expensive alternative to the crowded Chicago O’Hare International Airport. In 2010, RFD hosted several test flights by Atlas Air and Southern Air, which landed 747s from Asia. Those airplanes used RFD’s 10,000-foot primary runway and new International Cargo Center. In the next 45 days, RFD expects at least one more international cargo airline to conduct test flights.

“In the past year, we’ve made great strides to get on the radar of the international cargo industry,” O’Brien said. “We’ve gone from being an airport they’d only heard about to one they’ve visited and taken an active interest in. In 2011, we’re hopeful cargo airlines will take the next step and move operations here.”

Overall, 2010 was a down year for cargo at RFD. In 2010, almost 915 million pounds of cargo landed here, down 18.5 percent from 2009. RFD is ranked as the 21st-busiest cargo airport in the country, according to the most recent data from the Federal Aviation Administration.

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