Air Cargo Quarterly - Glasgow Prestwick International expands

By: | at 08:00 PM | Channel(s): Air Cargo News  

By Karen E. Thuermer, AJOT
Glasgow Prestwick International Airport (PIK) has come into its own. Determined to originally service the Scottish market with direct air transportation for Scotland’s booming high tech, aerospace, and oil and gas industries, officials there worked hard to convince air carriers to commit to the facility despite an aviation policy in the United Kingdom that historically favored British Airway’s monopoly at Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen airports.
This policy also followed an overall strategy to centralize freight and cargo at the major UK gateways in the Southeast of England, a fact that severely hurt Prestwick business.
Although the airport was close to shutting down in the early 1990s, local businessmen who saw potential took the airport under their wings and proved their airport can be successful.
“Today it is a thriving airport,” remarks Phil Walker, PIK executive chairman. “There are increasing volumes of high value and time critical goods being flown by air. We see more dedicated freighters being used and believe Prestwick offers an attractive option for that business.”
Freight advantages
PIK has undoubtedly attracted respectable traffic from low-cost passenger carrier Ryanair, which brings about 10 million passengers through its gates per year and keeps growing about 20% annually. The airport also has succeeded by specializing in dedicated freighters. While the figures vary depending on the month, PIK now sees approximately 27 Boeing 747 freighter landings each week.
“Prior to the revitalization of Prestwick, Scottish industry was greatly disadvantaged by the limited number of global connections and wide body aircraft servicing Scotland,” says Stuart Sinclair, PIK freight director. “As a result, the vast majority of imports and exports were being routed via the main gateways in England and Europe. This resulted in shipment delays and considerable additional costs caused by both inherent congestion at these hub airports and additional transit times for UK airfreight arriving at other European airports.”
Prestwick offers an advantage others do not. The airport is a 24-hour operation with no gate/slot restrictions and no night time curfews. The airport provides two major runways; competitive all-inclusive pricing, as well as a substantial investment in handling equipment including four 20-ton and one 30-ton hiloaders.
“The airport has proved to be an efficient and effective freight hub for main deck freighter and ad hoc charter business,” says Sinclair. As a result, the airport now receives substantial and ever increasing support from both the freight forwarding community and manufacturing industry throughout the rest of the United Kingdom and Ireland, both for import and export traffic.”
Carrier routings
Cargolux, Air France Cargo, Panalpina World Transport, Polar Air, and British Airways (BAA) offer direct connections from Prestwick to cities such as Seattle, Houston, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Huntsville, Atlanta, Guadalajara, Calgary, Taipei, Manila, Luxembourg, Amsterdam, Liege and beyond, via the worldwide networks of various airlines. Most of these carriers haul goods to and from Prestwick for the trans-Atlantic route.
Cargolux calls at Prestwick six times a week with three eastbound and three westbound flights. Polar Air offers six flights per week, five eastbound, one westbound. Air France arrives twice weekly, both eastbound. Panalpina brings in freight three times weekly from Huntsville, AL.
“BAA comes to Prestwick out of Frankfurt, then on to Atlanta, but they don’t often have space on board to load or unload,” Sinclair comments. “Usually its a fuel stop.”
Polar Air’s flight offers connections to the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent.
“Far East freight is handled through their connections in Liege and Amsterdam,” Sinclair continues. “Cargolux offers three eastbound flights a week and substantial quantities of Far East freight that originate in the Far East on its Saturday Eastbound flight to Seattl

Karen Thuermer's avatar

American Journal of Transportation