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"Memphis Airport Courts More Cargo"


 
Monday, December 11, 2006

Memphis Airport Courts More Cargo
By Jane Roberts
The Memphis (TN) Commercial Appeal


Memphis International Airport has added parking for as many as seven
wide-body jets on the airfield, part of an effort to court air cargo firms
that have business here but no facilities.

Between landing fees and parking revenue, the Memphis-Shelby County Airport
Authority expects the project could net in excess of $500,000 a month,
including $213,645 in landing fees.

"The U.S. Postal Service has always told us they needed to bring in more
planes," said Richard White, director of airport properties. "This year,
they wanted to bring in six."

Wednesday, five 747s owned by Michigan-based Kalitta Air and a wide body
owned by Express Net Airlines were unloading pallets of mail on the ramp, a
750,000-square-foot apron off Swinnea Road surrounded by security fencing
and lights.

"The project makes it possible for us to operate in Memphis," said Pete
Sanderlin, vice president of Kalitta, which carries mail for the U.S. Postal
Service. "Before, we had temporary parking in Memphis, but we would have to
move our planes if anyone else came in. It was pretty confusing and limited
our operation."

Because of FedEx's contract with the Postal Service, Memphis is the largest
mail processing center in the world. Throughout December, the most coveted
month for freighter parking at the airport, Kalitta will deliver five
planeloads of mail a day from San Juan, Puerto Rico; Anchorage, Hawaii and
Sacramento, Calif.

Right now, the apron is served by temporary office space in trailers. By
July, the airport will have space for lease in a 36,000-square-foot building
soon to be under construction.

"We had to build this facility because we didn't have any room for
independent cargo operators," White said. "The biggest push is Thanksgiving
through Dec. 24. We're marketing to other companies for the rest of the
year."

The airport today has 342 acres of aircraft parking space, including 13.6
million square feet it leases to FedEx.

Eventually, it will add another 750,000 square feet of space off Swinnea to
accommodate growth in the cargo industry.

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