As Airlines Sink, Cargo Takes The Lead

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A few years ago, when airlines were booming, lots of underused regional airports were eyed as potential reliever hubs. Now, with air travel in a perpetual slump, some savvy planners are looking to cargo as the wave of the future for jobs and development. Regional airports in Southern California, which unlike LAX or SFO have room to expand, are actively courting cargo carriers, the Los Angeles Daily News reported this week. Air cargo traffic (thanks for shopping online with AVweb's sponsors) in the region is expected to triple by 2025 and will provide 100,000 jobs, the Daily News said. At Victorville, 5,000 acres is available for development, and plans are in place to expand a runway for cargo operations. General Electric already is building a new hangar there for jet-engine testing. At Ontario Airport, a Taiwan-based cargo carrier has agreed to start flying there and a new 110-acre cargo facility is in the planning stages. Other aviation businesses are also attracting attention as potential growth industries, especially aviation maintenance. Maybe if the current slump drags on, planners will start to pay attention to flight schools and FBOs as potential economic engines ... well, we can hope.