Chicago Rockford International is building a 90,000 square foot cargo facility. As soon as the airport opens in the spring, it will start another 100,000 square meter freight project for DB Schenker, Emery Air and Senator International. Last year, Rockford completed a $ 22.3 million facility for Amazon, along with $ 14 million concrete skirts that are tough enough for Boeing 747 aircraft.
"Freight traffic is now driving new demand in airports," said Rex J. Edwards, industry analyst and vice president of Campbell-Hill Aviation Group, a Northern Virginia consulting firm. “The freight companies want more space at the airport. They need space to park planes and facilities that meet next day delivery requirements. That's the evolution of business now. "
Before the pandemic, e-commerce sales rose more than 10 percent annually, rising to 12 million tons last year, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, a division of the transportation division. Federal analysts assume that air freight will reach 45 million tons annually by the middle of the century. However, executives at major air shippers, airports and aircraft manufacturers say the pandemic has changed online commerce so much that the industry will hit that mark a decade earlier.
Three years ago, Philadelphia International Airport paid $ 54.5 million for 135 vacant acres adjacent to the airfield. The airport is currently developing a master plan for the ground that will include 1.5 million square meters of cargo handling facilities. "We knew before the pandemic that freight was only going to increase," said Stephanie Wear, director of flight service development and cargo services at the airport.
Currently, Amazon is the biggest influence on the construction of new airport cargo.
To serve the 14 immense California fulfillment centers near San Bernardino and Riverside, Amazon has set up a western hub at San Bernardino International Airport. This month, a 658,000 square meter handling and sorting center and two smaller 25,000 square meter buildings will be completed at the 79-year-old airport, which began as a World War II military airfield. The $ 300 million project includes parking lots and gates for 14 planes and 26 daily flights, said Mark Gibbs, the airport's aviation director.