Air cargo needs go beyond Twin Cities

Minnesota State Roundup

Published May 1, 2002  | May 2002 issue

Results of a study authorized by a Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport task force may provide an economic boom for some small city. The Swiss firm SITA Logistics Solutions was asked to study why the metro airport's cargo business was declining in a time of economic growth and increasing worldwide airfreight industry expansion.

SITA's analysis indicated that Minneapolis-St. Paul suffers from poor technology and safety systems, underinvestment by carriers and night noise restrictions, among other issues. And the best solution may be to expand capacity by moving traditional air cargo to a smaller outstate city airport. Some of those cities see themselves particularly well situated for a new air cargo hub:

  • Rochester is in the midst of a runway extension project and already has several major freight carriers operating at its airport;

  • Wilmar's tiny airport is to be replaced by a new one with a mile-long runway;

  • St. Cloud needs a runway expansion to qualify, but it already is a major trucking distribution center;

  • Duluth is capable of 24-hour a day cargo flights and has a long runway.

These and other communities are salivating over the potential economic boost of an air cargo hub—direct new jobs and perhaps new businesses that rely on air shipping.

Kathy Cobb