Edmonton International Airport (EIA) is performing above forecasts in 2016, due to a strong first quarter in international cargo charter growth and perishables in June and July.
The gateway’s primary market is international and the Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Pacific sectors are above target due to new capacity offerings of AFKLMP Cargo, Icelandair Cargo and Westjet on the Trans-Atlantic lane and Air China Cargo (ACC) on the Trans-Pacific lane.
EIA’s director of air service development, Norm Richard says it is on track to achieve a 7th consecutive year of tonnage growth.
He says: “Perishables and agrifood sectors are presently the strongest performing, which is non-traditional in Alberta due to the strength of the province’s oil and gas sector. With the temporary decline in oil and gas, added emphasis has been expended into these additional air cargo sectors with continuing success.
“As the EIA air cargo community continues to establish itself as an effective international cargo hub for perishables and agrifood, our market position will be strengthened and ready for return of ‘normal state’ in the oil and gas sector. At this point we will be well positioned for continued volume growth and carrier growth.”
Richard says the strategy in 2016 is on demand development (cargo and PAX) to ensure existing carriers at EIA remain successful in a challenging economic period.
But he says there are challenges in the Canadian airfreight market such as trade barriers, in particular restrictions on Canadian chilled beef and pork products to China. Richard explains: “ACC (only freighter between mainland China and Canada) along with its interline agreements with Cargojet and Westjet Cargo, provides a premium air cargo supply chain throughout Canada, yet Canadian exporters of chilled beef and pork cannot access the market.”
He says the Canadian government is in dialogue with China about the issue while Richard remains “bullish” on air service development growth and adds infrastructure is key.
At EIA’s Cargo Village this month, Aeroterm began work on a 50,000 square foot facility, while Runway Developments will build a 30,000 square foot office/warehouse facility, Ivanhoe Cambridge and Simon Property Group a 500,000 square foot retail facility and Rosenau Transport a 211,000 square foot warehouse and truck hub connecting EIA to West to Vancouver and East to Winnipeg.
Richard adds: “Our strategy is a phased approach, ensuring capacity is slightly ahead of market growth in a fiscally responsible fashion. Our objective remains to have goods flowing through efficiently and safely, with no bottlenecks, in a responsible fashion.”