Hartsfield-Jackson salutes air cargo community, sets sights on top 5 spot for leading cargo airports

Filed in Events, News by on May 5, 2016

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport leaders honored the air cargo community Wednesday, recognizing businesses and individuals for their achievements and, at the same time, pledging to catapult the ATL into the top five U.S. airports for cargo volume.

“I’d like to thank the cargo employees, freight forwarders, ground handlers, airlines and trucking companies,” Vivica Brown, ATL’s assistant general manager for commercial development, told nearly 200 Airport stakeholders at the annual ATL Cargo Awards luncheon. “All of you who have helped make Hartsfield-Jackson a formidable contender in cargo aviation — a rising star in the industry — watch out world, here we come.”

Hartsfield-Jackson has seen year-over-year gains in the amount of cargo traffic, and it’s looking to break into the top tier of the world’s leading cargo airports. The Airport, which currently ranks 10th in the nation and 30th in the world in cargo volume, wants to land a spot in the top five and top 10, respectively.

This year, Brown said, ATL is forecasting a 5 percent increase in cargo volume. Helping Hartsfield-Jackson achieve that goal is an exceptional air cargo community.

At Wednesday’s awards celebration, co-hosted by the Metro Atlanta Chamber and Atlanta Air Cargo Association, Hartsfield-Jackson leaders recognized Delta Air Lines for Cargo Airline of the Year; United Airlines for Belly-Cargo Airline of the Year; Korean Air for All-Cargo Airline of the Year; Denise Feltman for Cargo Employee of the Year; Kintetsu World Express for Freight Forwarder of the Year; and J&P Hall Express for Trucking Company of the Year.

Also recognized were ATL’s newest cargo carriers: AirBridgeCargo, CAL Cargo, China Cargo Airlines and Turkish Airlines. Next month, ATL welcomes a new carrier, Air Canada.

Air cargo creates more than 27,000 jobs in Georgia and generates more than $6.7 million in revenue for metro Atlanta.

In 2015, Hartsfield-Jackson made impressive strides to boost its cargo business. ATL handled more than 626,000 metric tons of cargo in 2015, growing cargo volume 4.15 percent over 2014. Also in 2015, using its Air Service Incentive Program, the Airport offered more than $130,000 in incentives that waived parking and landing fees and provided marketing benefits to airlines that started cargo and passenger service to new international destinations. Finally, in 2015, construction got underway on both Cargo Building C and the truck staging lot.

“We had a terrific start in 2015,” Brown said. “But we have much more to do, and we are excited to hit the ground running in 2016 to reach even higher levels of success.”

Indeed, Aviation General Manager Miguel Southwell is optimistic. For the ATL to become a top five U.S. airport for cargo volume, the Airport will need to triple its cargo volume from 626,000 metric tons to 1.7 million metric tons, he said.

“That is a big, big effort,” Southwell said. “But I know we’re going to succeed. Atlantans are visionaries. Anything we say we’re going to do, we’re going to do it.”

Hartsfield Jackson's Elliott Paige (left) and Metro Atlanta Chamber's Troels Adrian hand out awards during the annual ATL Cargo Awards luncheon Wednesday. Photo by Adam Linke with Decisive Moment Photojournalism

Hartsfield Jackson’s Elliott Paige (left) and Metro Atlanta Chamber’s Troels Adrian hand out awards during the annual ATL Cargo Awards luncheon Wednesday. Photo by Adam Linke with Decisive Moment Photojournalism

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