Representatives of Missouri’s Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, St. Louis County, and the American Society of Transportation and Logistics joined businesses and universities from the area in a trade mission to China this week in a renewed effort to establish the airport as an international air cargo hub.
Members of the Midwest-China Hub Commission met Chinese business leaders in Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou and Nanjing, and signed a memorandum of understanding in Shanghai pledging to pursue trade expansion between the U.S. and China.
The Commission, formed in 2009, envisions Lambert as an “Aerotropolis” and succeeded in attracting weekly China Cargo Airlines freighter flights to the airport from September 2011. However, Missouri legislators rejected a package that promised a reported $360 million in tax breaks. Without this incentive, return westbound flights to China were not attracting a viable payload and the operator soon suspended scheduled services.
Tim Nowak, executive director of the World Trade Center St. Louis, said the state of Missouri alone would export more than $1 billion worth of goods to China this year, and said there was no reason why figure could not double or triple if Lambert developed appropriate facilities.
Photo courtesy of Jason Van Eaton, Kit Bond Strategies