Aloha Air Cargo Breaks Ground On New $12 Million Facility

May 03--Aloha Air Cargo celebrated the groundbreaking of its new cargo facility Thursday with a ceremony that kicks off the beginning of the state's four-year, $739 million modernization project for Honolulu Airport.

The company, which has 16 to 18 daily flights between Honolulu and all major neighbor island airports, will use the facility as its primary operational hub. The facility will consolidate existing cargo operations, aircraft maintenance, loading docks, support offices and customer service operations into an integrated facility on the Ewa side of the airport.

It is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year, with Aloha Air Cargo expected to move in during the first quarter of 2014.

The statewide airports modernization program will cost $2.7 billion and be funded through airport user fees, which include airline rents and landing fees, federal grants, passenger facility charges, and airport revenue bonds that will be paid back with airport user fees.

Aloha Air Cargo, which has more than 400 employees, operates a fleet of four Boeing 737-200 freighters that have the capacity to carry approximately 30,000 pounds each. Items shipped include fresh bakery products, fish and seafood, produce, tropical fish, live animals, time-sensitive shipments, cut floral and tropical fruit export products as well as general cargo. Among its 2,000 customers are DHL, Federal Express, Love's Bakery, UPS and the U.S. Postal Service.

The new 115,000-square-foot facility will include more than 2,400 square feet of refrigerator capacity and five drive-up docks for shippers. More than 31,000 square feet of the facility is under a roof that will shelter cargo from wind, sun and rain. Aloha Air Cargo transports more than 100 million pounds annually into and across the state.

"This expansion project is an investment in Aloha Air Cargo's future in serving the people and businesses of Hawaii, connecting individuals and the industry both within and beyond our islands," Gov. Neil Abercrombie said at the ceremony.

Aloha Air Cargo, which this month is commemorating its fifth anniversary as an independent company, was purchased out of bankruptcy for $10.5 million by Seattle-based Saltchuk Resources on May 14, 2008, following the shutdown of Aloha Airlines on March 31 of that year. Saltchuk already had a presence in the islands after having purchased Young Bros. and Hawaiian Tug & Barge in 1999.

"Our new operational hub ... is a testament to the vision, success and passion of our employees," said Pat Rosa, chief operating officer for Aloha Air Cargo. "Our investment in this state-of-the-art facility represents Aloha's ongoing commitment to the people and businesses of Hawaii that we are here for the long haul."

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