By Maria Jose Subiria
Despite a deepening recession that is contributing to economic turbulence across worldwide markets, Cargolux Airlines, operating out of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, added a new cargo flight from Atlanta to Luxembourg in late December.
The new flight -- at a time when most companies might be more inclined to scale back, rather than expand -- brings the carrier's total to three flights a week from Hartsfield-Jackson, carrying an additional 70 tons of cargo.
According to airport officials, the service is expected to generate nearly $3 million in economic impact for Atlanta and the Southeast.
The air cargo industry has seen a 20 percent drop in business because of the country's worrisome economic status, said Warren Jones, aviation development manager at Hartsfield-Jackson.
Even in this climate, he said, "Cargolux saw a need for their product, and made a flight from Luxembourg to Atlanta."
Cargolux, one of 13 all-cargo carriers at Hartsfield, is the largest cargo operator in Europe, and, according to company officials, is the ninth-largest worldwide. Luxembourg, the officials said, was chosen as a destination from Atlanta because it is Cargolux's main hub, from which it services Europe and other destinations.
"We believe our service and commitment to the needs of our customers, combined with state-of-the-art equipment and experienced, dedicated staff, have contributed to our success," said Gus Jacovelli, Southeast Regional Manager for Cargolux Airlines. "Cargolux serves Europe via our road feeder services from Luxembourg, and the world via connecting flight services," he said.
Hartsfield's Jones said there will be an estimated, additional $5 million in goods and services coming to Atlanta, and that will ... produce more work hours for employees, more jobs and will help market the airport as not just the busiest passenger airport, but as a busy cargo hub as well.
"Cargolux has long wanted a gateway in the Southeastern U.S. to round out our services from other U.S. regions," Jacovelli said. "Atlanta was the logical choice, with its excellent location and the support of both the airport authority and the local forwarders."
He said what makes the carrier attractive to businesses is its capacity to handle a variety of goods, of different sizes and weights.
"Operating all cargo in a 747-400 aircraft allows Cargolux to carry most commodities that our customers require, which are textiles, machinery, vehicles and consumer goods," Jacovelli said.
The Boeing 747-400 is built to carry 124 tons of cargo, but Cargolux will use its new 747-8 freighters, an updated model of the 747-400, which can carry 154 tons of goods.
The Atlanta region and the airport will profit from Cargolux's expansion, as the direct flight will help lift the economic status of the community, according to Jones.
"We want to encourage business, because when airlines grow and regions grow, people will benefit from it," he said.