Lambert-St. Louis International Airport experienced a first-quarter jump in cargo activity of 3.5 percent, cementing the first three months of 2013 as its best first-quarter result since the immediate post-recession growth in 2011.
Outbound freight rose by 3.6 percent, year over year, to 17.5 million pounds, and inbound cargo grew by 2.5 percent to 18.63 million pounds. Outbound and inbound mail increased by 39.5 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively.
For the first quarter, total cargo results stood at 37.26 million pounds.
David Lancaster, the airport’s development director, is pleased by the results but sees the potential for more growth when recent international marketing work starts to pay dividends. Airport officials are targeting international freighter operators, convincing them to fly into the airport because of its central U.S. location.
“We have seen healthy growth in all sectors of our business so far this year: domestic and international cargo, and mail,” Lancaster said in a statement. “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.”
Bringing a freighter operator to the airport, however, remains the main goal. Lancaster said once one carrier joins up, it will be easier to convince the second and third airlines to fly in to St. Louis.
“It’s about changing habits, and it’s a waiting game,” he said, “but we are in this for the long term.” - Jon Ross