Lambert-St Louis Airport (IATA STL) has reported in its best first quarter cargo results in two years.
Outbound freight was up 3.6% on 2012, at 17,502,745lbs (7,939,245kgs),
while outbound mail rose 39.5% to 555,734lbs (252,080kgs), up 9.5%.
Inbound cargo totalled 18,633,637lbs (8,452,217kgs), up 2.5%; meanwhile
inbound mail was up 7.7% at 574,837lbs (260,746kgs).
The total of all cargo and mail for the first three months of 2013 was 37,266,953lbs (16,904,289kgs), an improvement of 3.5% on 2012, and the best first quarter since the post-recession “bounce” of early 2011.
David Lancaster, Lambert-St Louis Cargo Development Director said: “We have seen healthy growth in all sectors of our business so far this year: domestic and international cargo, and mail. It’s too early to say whether this trend will hold up throughout the year, but there is certainly more optimism among our community than has existed for some time.
“The real improvement in our tonnages, however, will come when our international marketing effort gains traction. Our main target is freighter operators, for whom we can offer a convincing business case centred on our ideal location, our impressive resources and our incentives programme.”
STL has identified that a substantial amount of cargo from its region is currently trucked to and from Chicago and other larger hubs, to connect with their international widebody and freighter services. “This is time-consuming, costly and not environmentally
friendly,” Mr Lancaster added.
“Freighter operations face huge challenges right now, with a perfect storm of soft rates and high fuel costs. So we believe the opportunities at STL to tap into a huge market catchment, while reducing operational costs, represent an appealing offering.”
He concludes: “Just one scheduled freighter operation will dramatically impact STL’s cargo statistics; and we are quite confident that the first will quickly lead to the second and third. It’s about changing habits, and it’s a waiting game, but we are in this for the long term.”