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Lambert aims to get back on China map

By control on December 6, 2012

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

Comments

Submitted by Michael Webber on
"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." Did that service last one week or two & how many does it take to qualify for "weekly"? It all started with a federal earmark from then-Senator Bond that paid his ex-staffers (including the one who provided this photo) excessively for their part-time jobs running this white elephant-in-waiting. The Missouri Legislature only rejected that funding after being pummeled with evidence this effort lacked any business case whatsoever. Until the embarrassment set in, the old boys network was steamrolling this thing. Guess the stench has faded enough that the same culprits are hoping everyone's memories have faded.

Submitted by Tom Buysse on
As Publisher of the QUICK CALLER AIR CARGO DIRECTORIES, I have the opportunity to get to know the Air Cargo Facilities and meet the people in the Air Cargo Industry from coast to coast on a daily basis – at large international gateway airports, at medium-size airports dominated by narrow-body aircraft, and even at niche cargo charter airports. I believe that just as every person has an obligation to reach for his/her potential, so too does each metropolitan region, and each airport community. The fact of the matter is: the large hubs will always be just that, but they aren’t going to “own” the market just because they have always been the big gorillas. As other airports find their way, add services such as FTZs, Customs Attorneys, Road Feeders and a multitude of important infrastructure components, these smaller airports will identify and fill opportunities. Every local airport community has the right to flex its muscles, serve its community, and reach out for more business. Whether in St. Louis, Rockford, Seattle, Columbus or San Antonio: if there’s a local need that can be better filled locally, let American ingenuity have its day.

Submitted by Tom Buysse on
As publisher of the QUICK CALLER AIR CARGO DIRECTORIES, I have the opportunity to see cargo operations in action at airports around the country, and to talk to the air cargo professionals at various airports -- from the large international gateways to the medium-sized airports with mostly narrow-body aircraft, to niche airports such as the ones that specialize in cargo charters. I have learned that the international hub airports will always be the "big gorillas," but that doesn't mean there isn't opportunity for growth at smaller airports. For examples, just look at the airport cargo growth at Columbus Rickenbacker, Louisiville, Memphis and Huntsville. Local communities have the right to develop their air cargo opportunities for the greater good, just as they have the right to grow other portions of their local economy. In fact, to maximize your potential is any organization's obligation, and that includes local Airport Authorities, which all too often ignore Air Cargo in pursuit of the sexier side of the business, Passenger. If an airport offers something unique, promote it. If an area has significant advantages, or sizable freight volumes to a particular area of the world, develop those opportunities. This is America, after all.

Submitted by Michael Webber on
Correct. They do have the right to develop their air cargo opportunities for the greater good. But if they're going to soak taxpayers across the state - as the St. Louis effort attempted - then they should be capable of presenting a business plan, rather than solely relying on political gamesmanship funded by wealthy sponsors and ex-congressmen turned shills. "This is America, after all." Yes & sadly, many meritorious efforts go unfunded because they lack the political firepower of indefensible but well-connected efforts such as this. I'll argue chapter and verse on why this effort deservedly died once the state legislature actually took the time to consider its weaknesses.

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