Atlanta cargo services expanding

Atlanta cargo services expanding

Four international air carriers have recently added all-cargo service out of Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport, reflecting its growing role as a gateway for global trade.

British Airways launched its third weekly 747-400 all-cargo flight on Sept. 7. The new flight, which operates on Sundays, goes to London Stansted Airport, with continuing service to the Persian Gulf. BA's Thursday and Saturday flights connect with Frankfurt.

"The increase in originating traffic from Atlanta has made a third freighter flight possible," said David Dempsey, British Airways area customer service manager. "Traffic to Europe, Africa and the Middle East has been steadily increasing during the past 12 months and British Airways has been filling the cargo holds of 777 passenger flights daily as well. A fourth flight is already being considered for spring 2004."

China Airlines will add its fifth 747-400 all-cargo flight between Atlanta and Taipei on Sept. 25. With the new flight, the Taiwan-based carrier will offer service to Asia Wednesday through Saturday. "Markets are improving and China Airlines has seen an increase in imports and a growing improvement in exports, strong enough to support an additional flight," said Michael Tan, cargo sales and service manager for China Airlines.

Polar Air Cargo added a third 747-400 all-cargo flight destined for Tokyo-Narita, Japan that departs on Fridays. This flight is in addition to a Narita flight on Thursdays and a flight to Sydney on Saturdays.

C.A.L. Cargo Airlines began offering a weekly 747-200 all-cargo flight to Liege, Belgium, with continuing service to Tel Aviv on July 3. The Israeli carrier plans to add a second flight next month, with a tentative launch dated of Oct. 23.

"Cargo flights are a vital part of Hartsfield's business," said Ben DeCosta, the airport's general manager. "Atlanta's airport continues to be the largest economic stimulus to the region and the growth of our cargo business is essential for our economic recovery. We are committed to expanding our air cargo business even further."

Hartsfield has enjoyed a 6.05 percent increase in cargo traffic for the period January through July above the same period in 2002. Hartsfield expects further growth this fall, the busiest season for air cargo.

Hartsfield officials in a statement credited the growth to a strong air-cargo presence at the airport; the region's mild climate and landing fees that are lower than at some comparable airports.