Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) offers a full-service 24/7 international-grade hub, seeking to provide everything its cargo airline partners need to operate. With over 25 years of experience in the industry, 85 daily flights and over 3 billion pounds of landed weight, RFD has firmly positioned itself as a key hub in North America, connecting carriers across America and beyond.
Over the past eight years, RFD has invested over $200 million in air cargo operations. This investment has helped build the airport into one of the largest economic engines in the Rockford region and Northern Illinois and grown RFD’s ability to handle large scale operations, while remaining efficient and providing its partners with the ability to move goods quicker and saving time and costs.
“RFD is the best positioned cargo airport in North America,” Zachary Oakley, Deputy Director Chicago Rockford International Airport, said.
“RFD, especially located in the busy Midwest, is a pilots dream with landing and takeoff within minutes with runways in very close proximity to the parking bays, which helps low fuel burns,” he added.
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RFD is home to the second-largest UPS hub in North America, a major base of operations for Amazon Air, and serves numerous international airlines and freight forwarders including DB Schenker, DSV, HAE, Senator International, ABX Air, ATI, National Airlines, and Atlas Air. With the airport’s ongoing cargo expansion, Rockford has become a hub for e-commerce and international freight. The airport has seen annual air cargo throughput triple over the last five years, with a 25% increase in volumes recorded in 2021, bringing the total volume of air cargo to just shy of 500,000 tons.
This was reflected in the recent announcement that RFD was welcoming Menzies Aviation, the world’s largest aviation services provider with operations in 58 countries. Menzies Aviation will occupy the International Cargo Center at RFD and provide cargo and freighter handling services to chartered and scheduled flights.
With Emery Air, the first cargo handler to operate at RFD, and Menzies Aviation working on the field, RFD expects enhanced growth of its international cargo business.
“When demand returns, RFD will continue to see growth and attract interest from carriers wanting to move away from more congested airports thus helping reducing their operating costs,” Oakley stated. “We are confident that in partnership with RFD Airport the airport will attract scheduled freighters, and more specialised cargo to be handled safely and expeditiously.”
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RFD has embraced digitalisation in recent years, as it moves to become as efficient and effective as possible, providing the best solutions available to carriers transiting through the hub. This desire for digitalisation saw RFD partner with Kale Info Solutions, the US subsidiary of Kale Logistics Solutions to implement its Airport Cargo Community System (ACS). The hub is looking to provide its cargo community with the most efficient, transparent cargo IT platform in the marketplace
Kale’s ACS implementation will reduce manual documentation and data entry time for cargo handlers at RFD, increasing efficiency, as well as reducing truck congestion and streamlining cargo flows.
Deployment of the full system will allow cargo handlers to receive real-time updates on estimated cargo arrival times, while advance slot booking capabilities will enable trucking companies and ground handlers to coordinate landside freight movements, eliminating waiting times and enabling efficient resource allocation.
“In partnership with Kale Logistics we will roll out the community system in June 2023. This system is intended to further enhance efficiencies in the whole logistics chain. The first mode of the system will enhance trucking companies and handling companies to coordinate efficient access,” Oakley explained.