Northwest Cargo grows

PHOTO/Rob Stapleton/AJOC
The addition of two Boeing 747 freighters and the return of the economy in Asia have Northwest Airlines Cargo in need of more space at the Alaska CargoPort.

transportation.jpg Just four months after it moved into the new Williams Lynx Alaska CargoPort at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, Northwest is increasing its option for more space.

"We are way over where we were at this time last year; in fact, we had nearly as many flights in January as the whole first quarter of last year," said Mike McKinley, cargo manager for Northwest Airlines Cargo.

Northwest Cargo aircraft made 131 landings in January compared with 98 in the first month of 2000, according to McKinley. Currently the cargo airline is operating 32 flights a week through Anchorage with its fleet of 10 Boeing 737-200 freighters and is cross loading as many as four aircraft at a time on some days, he said.

"In May we will start cross loading five aircraft and due to the extra equipment we will need to do the job we are looking to expand our space here at the CargoPort," McKinley said.

Northwest will need an additional 8,000-10,000 square feet of space for ramp equipment used for cross loading and more warehouse space, in addition to the 63,000 square feet the company currently occupies.

Northwest moved into the Alaska CargoPort, at the North Airpark at Anchorage International Airport, last October. The company has an option on up to 125,000 square feet, and eight aircraft parking spaces. Currently the cargo airline is using four parking spaces on the ramp.

McKinley said Northwest will not need the new building space until the fall, as they can store the new ramp equipment outside during summer months, but will need inside storage by October.

"We are not sure exactly what we are going to do yet, whether to move to space currently occupied by United that they don’t need, or build new space. We are discussing that right now," McKinley told the Journal.

United Air Cargo was the first airline to move into the CargoPort.

Northwest Cargo will be taking delivery of two additional freighters -- for a total of 12 aircraft -- one in May, and another in June, according to company officials.

Northwest plans on upping its flights to as many as 250 a week by August 2001, with the upward swing starting in March when the schedule goes to 41 flights weekly from the current 32.

Northwest posted 165 landings in October, 167 in November and 162 in December during the peak shipping season, according to the company.

McKinley said the frequency increase is being driven by a return of the Asian economy.

"We have been marketing heavily all over Asia, and it is paying off," he added. "Later this year we will start additional flights from Narita (Japan) to Seoul and on to Anchorage, with an additional direct flight from Seoul to Anchorage," McKinley said.

With the addition of routes to China and beyond and an alliance with Japan Airlines Cargo for other Asia and Southeast Asia destinations, the airline is now expanding its capacity in the Pacific Rim, which in turn is increasing cargo activity at Anchorage International, according to company officials.

02/10/2001 - 8:00pm