After a year of flat growth in 2011, cargo is up by 2.75 percent at Memphis International Airport, according to Larry Cox, president and CEO of the Memphis and Shelby County Airport Authority.
The airport ranked second on Airports Council International’s recently released list of the top 100 cargo airports by tonnage. Memphis officials saw 3.91 million tonnes of cargo go through the airport last year, a number that showed no year-over-year growth.
Hong Kong International Airport passed Memphis as the busiest cargo airport in the world in 2010, and this year is its second year in the top spot, despite a 4.5-percent, year-over-year, decline. Cox said that Memphis might “nose out” HKIA next year, but that it will be an uphill battle. Airports around the world are seeing poor tonnage figures and have been for quite some time, he said.
“It seems to me that cargo activity is reducing due to global economic conditions for most American airports with little relief at hand,” he told Air Cargo World.
One of his biggest problems domestically is that air cargo is being diverted to ground transportation in order to save money. Due to this fact, he thinks international cargo activity will be the safest bet for success at Memphis in the future. Even with a hard road ahead, Cox and his team are always preparing for the coming turnaround.
“Our airport continues to invest in infrastructure for current and future operations for both air cargo and passenger services,” he said. “Additional expansion for facilities for FedEx Express for additional parking ramps and operational facilities are never-ending.”