In spite of an 11% decrease in freight tonnage in 2012, Washsington Dulles International Airport is anticipating a growth in air cargo this year.
Washginton Dulles International Airport at dusk (image c/o Joe Ravi)
Joseph Maly – head of air cargo development at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority – explained that although tonnage fell last year, occupancy actually increased, and while the airport could not remain untouched by the global economic slump of 2012, he remains positive about the future. He commented, “With a highly diversified and expanding network of international flights and strong belly cargo facilities, Dulles is well-positioned for success.”
Much of Maly’s optimism surely derives from plans and opportunities for development in Washington DC. which will affect the airport directly. There are currently several road improvements expected in the US capital including a north-south highway which would increase the capacity of road feeder services. Additionally, the airport comprises in excess of 820 acres of undeveloped land, making it less congested and with more opportunities for future development than many of the airports on the American East Coast.
Network expansion will also be key to the airport's freight growth: Dulles has strengthened its links with the Middle East recently, and now offers daily routes to the region with five different airlines. New routes to Dulles with Brussels Airlines will be launched in June.
Pharmaceuticals, perishables and satellite and telecommunications equipment are tipped as key items to be seen on import and export to and from DC this year and Maly is keen to keep the volumes of such goods high, given the importance of air cargo to DC's economy. The industry, he states, supports more than $600 million in labour income each year.
Source: Air Cargo Week