CAL Cargo Air Lines announced yesterday that it will be adding flights from Europe to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) starting in mid-July, in an effort to enhance shipments related to oil and gas.
The airline found that the IAH market – which mainly focuses on oil and gas – aligns with its group strategy, a CAL Cargo spokesperson said. The spokesperson added that by connecting IAH to the carrier’s current U.S. network at JFK and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport (ATL), it helps the company’s growth in the country and “offers good connectivity” via the airline’s main hub in Belgium.
“We are a large manufacturing hub, so most of Houston’s air cargo relates to industrial machinery for the oil/gas sector,” IAH Air Cargo Development Manager Luis G. Avilés told Air Cargo World. He cited statistics from the U.S. Department of Commerce, explaining that “Houston has been the largest exporter market in the U.S. by USD value three out of the last five years, including maritime freight.” He added that air cargo volume at IAH grew by more than 18% last year, reaching more than 500,000 tonnes.
The airport signed a deal with Brazil’s Cabo Frio Airport (CFB) in April to create an air cargo “pipeline” between the two locations, connecting two of the world’s largest transportation hubs for gas and oil. Avilés said that the deal was only IAH’s latest step to boost cargo operations at the airport.
CAL Cargo is “expecting to carry machinery for the oil/gas industry, construction machinery, auto parts, medical sectors and high tech equipment,” according to the spokesperson, and plans to operate a B747-400ERF out of the airport with one flight a week, which will increase to two flights per week this fall. Ground handling at IAH will be undertaken by Swissport.