Air Cargo

  • Understand: Develop an understanding of the key foundational information associated with air cargo and air cargo development

    In general, the air cargo industry is not well-understood by people and organizations that are not involved in the movement of goods. According to JLL’s 2014 Airport Outlook, air freight comprises only 2.0 percent of total cargo volume being shipped on a global basis. However, it represents 35.0 percent of the value of all commodities ($6 trillion in all) being shipped throughout global supply chains.

    Air cargo depends on time and cost and offers a great deal of flexibility for users. The existence of well-developed air cargo infrastructure benefits not only the airport but the economy as well. Airports can be a magnet for attracting additional major industry into an area, especially those that rely on just-in-time shipments provided by air cargo.

    This section will provide readers with information on how the air cargo industry works, the regulatory environment for air cargo, and trends that are currently impacting the air cargo industry.


    • How Demand for Air Cargo Is Generated and Success Factors for Air Cargo: Learn what drives an airport’s ability to successfully accommodate air cargo. [Details]
    • Products that Benefit from Air Cargo: Discover which products frequently benefit from the speed of air cargo delivery. [Details]
    • The Players in the Air Cargo Industry: Learn about the various entities involved in successful domestic and international air cargo delivery. [Details]
    • Types of Aircraft Utilized for Air Cargo: Gain an understanding of equipment utilized in the air cargo industry. [Details]
    • Regulatory and Policy Issues for Air Cargo Development: Learn the current and upcoming regulations for air cargo operations, to better understand how the market is transitioning and what new roles you may need to take on to be sustainable in cargo processing and handling. [Details]
    • Trends in Air Cargo: Familiarize yourself with what is going on in the industry overall that has the potential to impact air cargo service at your airport. [Details]
    • Domestic vs. International Air Cargo Shipping: Discover the differences and additional complexities when shipping internationally versus within the U.S. [Details]
    • Air Cargo Marketing Plans and Air Cargo Development: Learn about the components of an air cargo marketing plan and how to pursue new or additional air cargo service. [Details]


    National Studies

    Regional/State Studies:


    • Air Cargo Definitions

      Definitions and abbreviations of terms frequently used in the air cargo industry developed by Custom Global Logistics.

    • The Cost of Shipping

      This marketing brochure outlines the true cost of online retail shipping to the consumer, retailer, and the environment developed by

    • Air Cargo in NYC

      Infographic from 2013 air cargo study for John F. Kennedy International Airport highlighting the impact of air cargo on the regional economy.

  • Explore: Explore an airport’s current air cargo situation at the airport and in the community and identify opportunities for new or improved service.

    This section provides information, tools, and resources to help you understand your airport’s existing air cargo situation and assist in identifying opportunities for improvement. An assessment of an airport’s air cargo market is a vital step in air cargo development. The knowledge base in this section explores several items needed for an air cargo market assessment including:

    • identification of existing air cargo usage
    • identification of the air cargo market area
    • identification of regional current and potential companies that rely on air cargo to conduct business
    • identification of potential air cargo opportunities

    The typical airside and landside facilities needed by air cargo carriers are discussed briefly and resources for air cargo facility development are provided. In addition, a few key business practices for successful relationships between airports and air cargo operators are discussed.


    • Identify an Airport’s Existing Air Cargo Usage and Regional Air Cargo Flows: Determine how your airport is currently being used by air cargo carriers and how air cargo flows through your region. [Details]
    • Identify Current Air Cargo Use: Identify how local companies currently utilize air cargo and which companies have the potential to use air cargo in the future. [Details]
    • Identify Your Air Cargo Market Area and Competing Airports: Determine an airport market or catchment area for air cargo and understand the competition in the region for air cargo. [Details]
    • Consider Facilities Needed to Retain or Attract Air Cargo Carriers: Explore what improvements could be made to facilities at your airport to improve air cargo operations. [Details]
    • Investigate Targeted Business Practices for Air Cargo: Consider various business best practices for development strategies, leasing policy, costs and fees, and Foreign Trade Zones. [Details]
  • Take Action: There are several steps that can be taken to support air cargo at the airport and with the community.

    The knowledge base in this section will provide information, tools, and resources for airports and communities to work together in educational efforts and identify actions to improve or maintain air cargo. This includes maintaining existing stakeholder relationships, pursuing opportunities for air cargo improvements, and community education and outreach.


    • Maintain Relationships with Existing Air Cargo Stakeholders: Recognize the importance of existing air cargo clients and determine how to meet their needs. [Details]
    • Market Your Airport’s Air Cargo Development Opportunities: Take steps to tell potential customers and key stakeholders about the benefits of air cargo at your airport. [Details]
    • Identify New or Expanded Air Cargo Opportunities: Evaluate whether your airport can expand or recruit new air cargo service by identifying market opportunities. [Details]
    • Establish a Dialogue with Your Community About Air Cargo: Learn how to get the word out in your community. [Details]