The Airforwarders Association (AfA) has hit out at New York state governor, Andrew Cuomo’s plans to move cargo operations from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Stewart International Airport.
Cuomo announced the plans to move cargo away from JFK to Stewart in a press conference on 20 October called Modernize our Airports: Gateways to New York, which was attended by US vice president, Joe Biden. The Cuomo plan would set up a tax free zone at Stewart to encourage business to relocate, while JFK and LaGuardia Airport would modernise their facilities. AfA director general, Brandon Fried, tells Air Cargo Week (ACW) that his members: “Initially viewed them [the plans] as not serious and also indicative of the lack of knowledge of the impact air cargo has on JFK, the New York area and the nation as a whole.”
Fried says he wants to talk to Cuomo to explain why moving cargo operations from JFK to Stewart is not practical. “We think that inviting freight forwarders to the table and other stake holders to give Cuomo a better understanding of the importance of cargo and that air cargo has to be part of the solution.” Fried thinks part of the problem is cargo is not thought about as important for a lot of people. “Cargo is an afterthought for most people, it is not thought about.”
He thinks if the plans go ahead airlines may consider moving to other North Eastern US cities such as Boston, Philadelphia or Washington instead of New York, or Stewart, which is 85 miles north of New York city, in the Hudson Valley. Fried says as half of cargo in and out of JFK is carried in bellyhold, this is going to cause issues, because passengers want to fly to JFK. “Trucking in and out of Stewart will add a days delay, if not more. It will make New York less attractive for air cargo.” Fried admits that there are problems with New York, including the road network and limits on the type of heavy goods vehicle trailers, which can be used. Fried tells ACW: “JFK has horrible road access issues, it is not very well laid out.” There are also problems using 53 foot trailers that are popular with freight firms using the airport, but upgrading and modernising cargo facilities at JFK is the best way to sort the problems out, not moving cargo operations to Stewart.