ORLANDO – David Whitaker, vice-president of business development and communications at Rickenbacker Airport, has had more than 100 charters make stops at his airport since mid-February.
The all-freighter airport, south of Columbus, U.S., has three arrivals and departures weekly from both Cathay Pacific and Cargolux, in addition to activity from FedEx and UPS. The new charters, however, were due to the West Coast port crisis, which had the supply chain in knots.
“The supply chains are slowly getting back to normal, but the key is that many customers were able to experience Rickenbacker,” said Whitaker, who spoke with Air Cargo World during the CNS Partnership Conference. As more charters landed during the crisis, Bryan Schreiber, the manager of business development for Rickenbacker, said he would be on the ramp, making sure the forwarder or customer was happy with the entire process.
“Emirates came in, and our hopes are they’ll come back,” Whitaker said. He added that several carriers are more inclined to return to the regional airport today than they used to be “because of their favorable impressions.”
Rickenbacker was converted in 1980 from a military airfield, formerly known as Rickenbacker Air Force Base. Both Whitaker and Schreiber work for the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, which is responsible for Rickenbacker, the Columbus Airport and Bolton Field, which serves private pilots and charters. The extra business from the port situation gave them the chance to showcase the customer service at Rickenbacker, which left favorable impressions they said.