What is the cargo market at my airport?

AIR CARGO PHOTOS OF CARGOLUX PLANEThe development of air cargo facilities generally follows a process just like passenger terminals and runways. Due to the somewhat unique nature of the air cargo market, this process can be more complicated than that for other airport facilities, however, the development process can be generally defined for an airport operator by answering some basic questions.

  • What is the cargo market at my airport?

car2The first phase of any development program should include a market assessment to establish geographic market size and growth. If the results are favorable subsequent phases would include selection of target markets and market surveys. The term cargo market does not just refer to the potential for the flow of goods (the operating market) but also pertains to the potential for cargo facilities at an airport (the leasing market). It is very important for an airport operator answering this first question to develop a strategy.

  • What are the facility requirements?

aircargo_4Once an airport operator has a general understanding of the cargo market and how to develop it, the next step is to identify the location, type and size of facilities needed to satisfy the market demand. This should include existing and projected future demand. Do I have the right facilities? Having the right types of facilities means:
– having an adequate supply of cargo buildings, staging, storage areas, and apron in the optimal location;
– understanding the mix of carriers, and the necessary support services to the entity to which the facility could be leased, and the warehousing, office, and GSE space as well as the landside and aeronautical infrastructure they require for cost-effective operations.
– determining the appropriate throughput for the potential tenants and users of the facility.
This phase of the development process usually includes a site selection study for future air cargo facilities. Once a site has been selected, the best layout of facilities on the site is determined. Cost estimates are then developed for the final cargo facility layout.

  • How do I develop the right facilities?

air-cargo-boston-maThis phase of the facility development process involves determining whether the airport operator undertakes the project itself or contracts the development to the private sector, including the financing of the proposed development and the design/construction of the facilities. The airport also must decide how the new cargo facilities will be managed and operated.

At Air Alliance we are proud ourselves of always looking at planning and design from the operator’s perspective. In this regard the time required to develop a proper preliminary analysis and concept design is critical.