After welcoming recent cargo flights from Bangladesh, Hong Kong and South Korea, Pittsburgh International Airport added a new shipping partner from Asia this week.
SpiceXpress, India’s largest cargo airline, landed its first-ever flight in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, followed by another on Friday. They are the first of 40 planned cargo flights that will arrive from Vietnam to Pittsburgh this year.
“We are delighted to partner with Pittsburgh International Airport as the preferred hub for SpiceXpress to provide an enhanced customer experience,” said CEO Sanjiv Gupta.
The twice-weekly service delivering garments from Asia is the latest route to join PIT’s growing and diverse roster of air cargo partners.
The airport currently hosts twice-weekly cargo flights on Qatar Airways, along with daily flights from Amazon Air, FedEx and UPS, in addition to shorter but well-received stints from airlines like Finnair and Volga Dnepr. Cathay Pacific and National Airlines Cargo are also regular visitors to Pittsburgh International Airport. Airport officials cited the large cargo gains over the past year. Total cargo through May is up 17 percent from the same period last year.
“Our cargo strategy is continuing to benefit the logistics industry and the Pittsburgh region by focusing on speed, efficiency and ease of moving air freight through our airport. SpiceXpress’ arrival in Pittsburgh aligns with our mission of increasing the role airport communities such as PIT play in solving shipping issues and delays,” said Bryan Dietz, vice president, Air Service Development for PIT. “Air cargo and logistics providers see the value we can offer them, and we’re excited to partner with SpiceXpress from one of the world’s most industrious nations.”
Airlines and freight forwarders alike have consistently praised PIT’s ability to speedily unload cargo and get it on trucks to distribution centers, a valuable trait in a business where time costs money.
Traditional cargo gateways are often swamped, creating a backlog that keeps cargo sitting for days waiting to be processed or available for delivery. Every minute that cargo isn’t being moved to its final destination incurs further expenses.
PIT’s reputation for efficiency has reverberated even outside the cargo industry as government leaders have taken notice.
In 2019, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded PIT an $18.69 million BUILD grant to support the construction of a 75,000-square-foot cargo processing facility and an adjacent surface parking lot to expand air cargo operations. And this spring, the state awarded its own $2.5 million grant to assist the development of what the airport has dubbed the Cargo 4 project.
Scheduled to open in 2024, Cargo 4 will allow PIT to accept freight from abroad and distribute it throughout North America, making the Western Pennsylvania region more competitive in a growing industry and positioning the airport as a gateway for global logistics.
The facility includes 75,000 square feet of warehouse space and 7,300 square feet of office space across two floors. The building will feature 18 loading docks for trucks; most will come with dock levelers while others will be used specifically for Unit Loading Devices (ULDs). Flatbed trucks will be able to access the interior of the warehouse, which is advantageous in poor weather.