Forget about the fact that Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA) has been steadily growing its passenger numbers lately – cargo flights at the airport are through the roof.
According to the latest statistics from PTIA, in October 2018, cargo flights to and from PTIA were up 63 percent over October of last year.
PTIA Executive Director Kevin Baker said he’s very pleased about the jump and he added that the reason is clear.
“That’s obviously all FedEx,” Baker said.
Earlier this year, FedEx announced a significant expansion at PTIA as well as the addition of up to 400 new jobs at the airport. The company began adding new jobs and new flights in September and the airport’s October numbers clearly reflect the initial stages of that expansion.
Airport officials say that 63 percent increase in cargo flights isn’t even as high as it could be because in October Hurricane Michael hit and that meant some flights were canceled. Baker said the 63 percent increase is therefore “a little bit light” and added that that’s “a really good thing.”
According to Baker, the growth of the internet fulfillment business is a big driver of air transport traffic these days.
A coming Amazon distribution center in Kernersville will also bring a lot more cargo business to PTIA. That center is expected to create over 900 new jobs.
Koury Corp. President Steve Showfety, who is chairman of the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority, said that, given the increasing demand in both passenger and cargo flights, runway repairs and renovations at PTIA had put a lot of pressure on one runway. He said PTIA took steps to address the noise issues for residents in the path of that runway.
“I’m satisfied and very pleased with the way staff administered their coordinated effort to try and mitigate problems for our neighbors,” Showfety said.