AirBridgeCargo Airlines announced plans today to add an additional frequency to Rickenbacker International Airport (LCK), bringing the carrier’s total operations at the cargo-centric airport to twice-weekly.
Although the Russia-based carrier has had mixed success serving airports in the United States, Rickenbacker appears to be working for the Russia-based carrier. In 2018 the AirBridgeCargo’s volumes to and from LCK surpassed 5,000 tonnes, according to AirBridgeCargo general director Sergey Lazarev. Given this performance, the carrier anticipates its second weekly flight will be well supported as well. This contrasts with ABC’s launch of service to Seattle-Tacoma airport (SEA) in late 2016, which was cancelled after just a few months.
For LCK, AirBridgeCargo’s second weekly service supports the airport’s aims to position itself as a regional cargo hub. AirBridgeCargo plans to commence the second scheduled weekly rotation later this month, according to a release from the airline. ABC first began operating out of LCK last April with a weekly flight on Thursdays to Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO) via Liège Airport (LGG). The carrier attributed the addition of the frequency to “stable demand to/from Rickenbacker International Airport, accommodating growing trade flows onboard the maindeck capacity of its Boeing 747 freighter service.”
AirBridgeCargo’s expansion of its services is “further proof that Rickenbacker is one of the industry’s new global gateways,” according to Joseph Nardone, President & CEO of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, which operates LCK.
In 2018, LCK reported its volumes were up 17.6%, for the entire year bringing the airport’s total cargo handled last year to almost 136,500 tonnes. This volume however, a far cry from the volumes of other express-oriented airports in the region, such as Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky (CVG) and Louisville (SDF)– which reported 1.2 million tonnes and 5.7 million tonnes, respectively, in throughput for 2018.
Although the scale of LCK’s operations are not yet on par with North American integrator hubs, LCK airport authorities have worked hard over the past two years to attract international carriers and grow general cargo operations at the airport. In addition to AirBridgeCargo, LCK currently hosts operations from Cargolux, Cathay Pacific Cargo, Emirates SkyCargo and Etihad Cargo.
Growth of operations at LCK is evidenced by the continued growth of the airport’s volumes into 2019 – in January LCK’s cargo handle increased 26.7% year-over-year to 34,023 tonnes – international cargo shipments made up 63% of total tonnage, while domestic shipments came in at 37% for the month.
Source: Clinton Wisinger, Youtube