In the first six months of Southwest’s new cargo operation at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the carrier has handled more than 2.5 million pounds of cargo, according to Southwest’s Wally Devereaux. As a result of its merger with Atlanta-based AirTran, Southwest officials opened a 26,000-square-foot cargo facility to much fanfare on February 12.
“We’ve been extremely pleased with the support of the Atlanta shipping community,” Devereaux, who is the carrier’s director of sales and marketing, told Air Cargo World. “The Atlanta airport has been fantastic to work with. The airport aviation general manager, Louis Miller, and his team have been very supportive of our air cargo business thus far.”
In those few short months, Devereaux has seen a variety of cargo pass through the airport in the belly of Southwest planes. Apparel, printed material and electronic equipment have made up the bulk of the shipments, and he only expects these types of goods to increase in tonnage as Southwest adds more routes from Atlanta.
The carrier began its Atlanta tenure with non-stop service to Washington, D.C., Chicago, Denver, Houston and Austin, Texas. Routings to Las Vegas and Phoenix followed in March, with a non-stop Atlanta-Los Angeles flight entering the market in June. Service to Louisville began in August.
For Devereaux, this rapid expansion out of Atlanta has, so far, been quite a boon to Southwest’s cargo offerings. The carrier has also recently been focusing on new cargo products, offering OnAsset tracking as of July.
“Based on the size and accessibility of the Atlanta airport alone,” Devereaux said, “Atlanta definitely has an infrastructure that is conducive to cargo carriers being successful.”