Earlier this week, Southwest Cargo opened its newest cargo facility at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport (CVG). Like Southwest’s entire U.S. domestic network, the carrier’s cargo division will manage the bellyspace capacity on flights moving through CVG.
Initially, eight daily nonstop flights will serve CVG, with five to Chicago’s Midway (MDW), and three to Baltimore’s BWI. Despite having a network of nearly 4,000 daily flights, CVG was until recently, a blank spot on Southwest’s map – though it had operated a few daily flights into been nearby Dayton, Ohio (DAY).
Now, Southwest Cargo is doubling down on CVG. On May 26, the carrier closed its Dayton cargo facility in preparation for the launch of operations at CVG, which commenced on June 5.
Even though Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport (CVG) has long been the U.S. consolidation point for DHL’s international parcel shipments, interest in the airport exploded earlier this year, when Amazon announced plans to establish its global air freight hub at the airport.
On the sidelines of AirCargo 2017 in Orlando, Southwest Cargo told Air Cargo World that although it was not working directly with Amazon at CVG, it would likely be uplifting some cargo destined for Amazon customers, via its freight forwarding partners. Aside from landing planes at CVG, one other thing the Texas-based carrier shares with the e-commerce goliath, is its drive to improve the customer experience through IT.
Looking ahead into the next few years, Southwest Cargo plans to unveil a new IT system that will enable it to book and sell freight on international flights to, and from the United States. This is expected to go live next year, and will replace Southwest’s first digital system, which it launched some twenty-years ago.
Beyond the sales management platform, Southwest Cargo is also working on a commodity tracking project that will utilize some of the bag-tracking technologies Southwest is already using to provide its passengers with information regarding the location of their checked baggage. The system, Southwest Cargo says, will not only provide a comprehensive record of what is being carried on each plane, but the weight data should also expedite weight-and-balance calculations, and could maximize the amount of freight loaded onto a single flight.
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