The Port of Seattle welcomes new air cargo freighter service to China by China Eastern Airlines at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport aimed to help meet the demand of the busy Northwest cherry season.
During the height of the agricultural season, China Eastern’s Boeing 777 freighter will call on Sea-Tac once a week for 13 weeks to transport up to 90 metric tons per flight to Shanghai, China.
“We are thrilled to welcome China Eastern Airlines and further strengthen our trading ties with China,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Bill Bryant. “Seattle is the most direct route to Asia from the continental U.S., and this new air service continues to position Sea-Tac as the Northwest’s air cargo gateway of choice, create local jobs and contribute to the region’s economic vitality.”
International air freight volume at Sea-Tac is up 33 percent through April, compared to the same period last year. Overall air cargo volume increased 3.2 percent in 2013 to 292,000 metric tons and is up 8.3 percent in the first four months of 2014. Air freight with Asia reached an all-time high in 2013 at Sea-Tac, increasing 15.1 percent to a record 62,084 metric tons.
“China Eastern’s new service at Sea-Tac shines a spotlight on the increasingly global nature of our business,” said Port Air Cargo Manager Tom Green. “Our partnership is a win-win, with Asian markets benefitting from key local air exports including high tech, seafood, aircraft spare parts, and high value fruits and vegetables.”
China Eastern will be the 7th carrier with cargo freighter service at Sea-Tac. Multiple domestic and foreign flagged airlines provide belly cargo service with passenger aircraft to U.S. and international destinations. FedEx is the largest volume carrier with more than 100,000 metric tons of freight or more than 41 percent of the volume at Sea-Tac.
This year, the port is scheduled to finish a $20 million project to expand, improve and upgrade air cargo freighter parking facilities on the north end of the airfield.
The Port of Seattle Century Agenda has set the course for strategic objectives over the next 25 years including the generation of 100,000 new jobs and positioning the Puget Sound region as a premier international logistics hub. At Sea-Tac, goals include tripling of annual air cargo volume to 750,000 metric tons.