New York area airports show cargo improvement

Compared to last year's dismal figures, cargo volumes are improving at Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PANYNJ) area airports and PANYNJ officials expect the good news to continue through this year's December holiday season. Karen E. Thuermer reports.

“We are anticipating positive growth, probably in the 20 per cent range,” says Michael. J. Bednarz, manager Air Cargo Business Development, PANYNJ Aviation Department. “It would be great to erase the declines experienced in 2009,” he adds. According to PANYNJ figures, August 2010 year-to-date figures (the latest available), which total 884,218 tonnes, indicate a 32.4 per cent rise in cargo over the same period last year with cargo totals for Asia traffic weighing in at 447,289 tonnes, up 39.6 per cent. Today, Asia cargo represents a 50.6 per cent market share for PANYNJ area airports. Looking more closely, import traffic represents slightly more than half of that traffic with August 2010 YTD tonnage weighing in at 482,412 tonnes, up 35.6 per cent over the previous year; and export traffic at 401,806 tonnes, up 28.5 per cent. Flights between PANYNJ airports and Asia have also been on the increase. “Our airports have seen a 12 per cent increase versus the previous year in overall Asian market flights through the August 2010 YTD period,” comments Bednarz. While PANYNJ does not break these down markets by freighter flights, Bednarz reveals PANYNJ has seen an overall 2.5 per cent increase in freighter activity for the August 2010 YTD period. “We continue to see larger aircraft such as B747-400F’s on the freighter side and B777’s on the passenger side,” he says. Keeping JFK/EWR in focus To keep PANYNJ airports – primarily JFK International Airport (JFK) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) – in front of carrier decisions makers, PANYNJ continues to participate in conferences and events through business development offices in Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. “This allows us to have a direct physical presence in some of the world’s most vital markets,” Bednarz says. “We are also promoting the strength of our gateway.” JFK is the busiest international air passenger gateway to the US and the leading freight gateway to the country by value of shipments. Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) offers an alternative for cargo flying in and out of the New York/New Jersey area. EWR is particularly known as a major hub for express carriers with nearly 1.4 million square feet of cargo space. “Our airports continue to be a leader in the development of new routes, trade lanes, and markets. Air cargo screening regulations have prompted the industry to look for economies of-scale benefits,” Bednarz adds. “This can to influence freight flows to gravitate towards gateways.” This year Malaysia Airlines Cargo (MASKargo) began twice-weekly operations to/from JFK via Amsterdam in September. PANYNJ officials are expecting the carrier to increase this service to three times weekly. Officials also see the merger between Continental Airlines and United Airlines as positive for PANYNJ area airport developments. Continental has a strong and unique presence at Port Authority Airports. “Although EWR is their hub, they provide a cargo drop station facility at JFK, which gives customers their choice of airports in terms of dropping off or picking up their shipments,” Bednarz says. “With freight flows already in place to support the New York/New Jersey Region gateway, I see this merger as one that can expand any traditional geographic cargo catchment areas.” The same is already holding true for the Delta-Northwest merger. “We are also seeing more Delta traffic moving through our airports,” he adds. The Asia breakdown Of those totals, Asian traffic represented 258,873 tonnes of the YTD import totals, representing a market share of 53.7 per cent; exports heading to Asia totaled 188,416 tonnes for the August 2010 YTD figures, representing a 46.9 per cent market share. The top five Asian countries that import and export goods through PANYNJ area airports are China, Japan, India, South Korea, and Hong Kong. According to PANYNJ, the total volumes in terms of tonnes for those countries for August YTD 2010 are: China, 146,379; Japan, 44,186; India, 35,423; South Korea, 28,198; and Hong Kong, 23,079 tonnes. For Asia import traffic through August YTD in terms of tonnes show countries weighing in at: China, 116,968; India, 23,765; Japan, 20,349; Vietnam, 8,345; and Bangladesh, 8,240 tonnes. Asia export figures for traffic through August YTD in terms of tonnes indicate: China, 29,412; Japan, 23,836; South Korea, 22,305; Hong Kong, 20,110; and Singapore, 12,949 tonnes.