St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) has experienced a boom in cargo charter activity in 2017.

For the year to date, the airport has witnessed a 30% increase in freight charters, compared with the same period in 2016. The average weight of cargo on flights has increased almost four-fold to 45,982 lbs (20,857 kgs).

In September, the airport also saw its two heaviest charter movements in some years: 216,681 lbs (98,264 kgs) and 233,000 lbs (105,665 kgs), uplifted by 747-8F aircraft operated by AirBridge Cargo; these were the first ever operations into STL by the 747-8F. STL also recently saw the first visit to the airport of the An-124 in 5 years.

The mainstay of the charter flights has been  the region’s thriving automotive and aerospace industries.

Says STL Cargo Development Director David Lancaster: “The recent growth in total charter tonnage, the regular appearance of larger aircraft and the heavier loads being carried all point to a growing recognition of the benefits of using St. Louis Lambert for cargo charters.

“The cargo handling facilities and space here are exceptional for an airport with our traffic levels, and all cargo charters are handled by WFS. Local manager Steve Rogers and his team do an outstanding job and are great partners in developing this business. We pride ourselves on being an easy airport to work with, having no slot restraints or congestion and a great location in the geographic center of the United States.”

He concludes: “With this upsurge in charter activity, the recent opening of our livestock handling centre, the imminent launch of new international services by WOW and the steady growth of non- stop domestic markets, the prospects for cargo through STL look better than at any time since the closure of TWA’s hub operations in 2002.”