Lambert St Louis International Airport (STL) is stepping up its efforts to increase freight and logistics activity on and around the airport, with a new drive for cargo charter traffic.
STL has recently been concentrating its marketing on scheduled freighter services; it has now decided to increase its efforts to win charter business as well, and is taking steps to position itself as the ideal cargo charter airport for the US mid West.
STL is making itself more “charter-friendly” by increasing the amount of charter-related information on its website. The website also now features details of local ancillary service providers such as cargo handlers, freight forwarders, customs brokers and specialist equipment operators. The aim is to simplify the flight planning process for charter brokers and operators.
Says the airport’s Cargo Development Director, David Lancaster: “Attracting scheduled freighter services is a long process, especially in the currently unfavourable environment where freighters are being parked and frequencies reduced. We continue to work hard for this business, but tangible results could take some time yet.
“On the other hand, ad hoc charters continue to flourish. We already accommodate many such flights each year, and we are well suited and located to expand this important area of our business.”
Among the many benefits that Lancaster cites for charter operators is STL’s central location, within 500 miles of one-third of the US population, and 48 hours’ trucking time from 70% of US business. He also speaks of its lack of night-time operating curfews, its 24/7 Customs presence, its proximity to inland waterways and major highways and the lack of ramp congestion and slot constraints. In addition, STL boasts four live runways that can accommodate any fully-loaded aircraft with maximum fuel load – including the B747F-8F, An-124 and An-225.
STL strategy is actively to encourage all forms of cargo and logistics activity on and around the airport; this is fully supported by local government as a vitally-important driver of employment and economic prosperity for the region. The airport already generates an estimated US$ 3.6 billion annually for the 16-county area surrounding it.
Concludes Lancaster: “Some of the leading charter operators already pick STL whenever they are allowed a choice of airport by their customers, and they speak highly of the ease of operating here. We now want the rest of the sector to get the message loud and clear that we love cargo charters!”