On the negative side, Korean Air Cargo decided to stop service in June 2009. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Fortunately, we have been in close communication with their executives and there is a high possibility that they will come back when the economy improves,Ã¢â‚¬Â reveals Aviles.
Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines will be increasing from four times weekly to five times weekly its Singapore-Moscow service that stops at IAH, effective 18 December and Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airways, and EVA Air Cargo are continuing their service offerings to IAH. China Airlines Cargo is reinstating its second weekly flight for its winter schedule, effective 29 October.
Helping fuel this activity is the fact Houston is a global energy capital, and IAH has positioned itself as an important distribution hub for Asia and the Middle East. Ã¢â‚¬Å“As of today, we have eight passenger and all-cargo carriers with direct service to Asian and Middle Eastern cities,Ã¢â‚¬ÂAviles says.
A balanced trade
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Exports (industrial, oil/gas, engineering/ construction equipment) are traditionally strong, and imports are beginning to grow through the added air service to Asia and the Middle East,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Aviles.
The air cargo loaded from Houston includes the regionÃ¢â‚¬™s top export items, such as oil and gas equipment, industrial machinery and high-tech components. Shippers then distribute the freight to HoustonÃ¢â‚¬™s key trading partners in China, Japan, Singapore, India, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Air cargo trade with Asia and the Middle East combined represents 49 per cent of our international air cargo trade,Ã¢â‚¬Â he adds. Ã¢â‚¬Å“In 2008, we handled more than 97,000 tonnes of air cargo trade between Houston and these regions.Ã¢â‚¬Â
In total, air cargo airlines at IAH handled more than 372,000 tonnes of air freight in 2008, a 14 per cent increase as compared to volumes handled five years earlier. Helping its business is the fact Houston is the fourth largest exporter in the United States and the tenth largest exporter of air cargo by both weight and value.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“In addition, itÃ¢â‚¬™s our flexibility to accommodate growth that results in new carriers recognising HoustonÃ¢â‚¬™s strategic location and fast-growing cargo market,Ã¢â‚¬Â Aviles says. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Carriers are working on their long-term plans, and IAH is prepared to accommodate their expansion plans when the world economy improves.Ã¢â‚¬Â
IAH is fortunate to have plenty of space to grow in Houston and still has the ability to expand its Cargo Center. Th at Center offers 550,000 square feet of warehousing and a ramp capacity for up to 20 widebody aircraft.
IAH has opened its new Fresh Air Cargo Center and will begin receiving shipments of fresh-cut flowers from South America in mid-November. Th e 28,750-square-foot structure to be operated by Tradewinds Cargo Handling is HoustonÃ¢â‚¬™s first large-scale cold-storage air cargo facility. While flowers will be the launch product, produce and other perishables will be added later.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This facility will establish Houston as an import gateway for shippers in Latin America that want to diversify their Miami operations,Ã¢â‚¬Â Aviles comments. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We serve Dallas, San Antonio and Austin in Texas; and for the big truckers,weÃ¢â‚¬™re midway