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`Go West, Young Man, Go West!'
West Coast airports upgrade their facilities and marketing strategies to compete for transpacific air freight traffic.
North America's major Pacific gateway airports are moving vigorously to prepare for the explosion in international air cargo volume that lies ahead.
All five major gateways -- Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia -- are tracking master plans that provide for expanded facilities in response to projections of significantly increased cargo volume.
In addition to the normal expansion in world commerce, two other developments appear to be accelerating air cargo expansion on the Pacific Coast. International air cargo traffic is growing at a faster pace than domestic cargo shipments. Much of this increased traffic is related to the Pacific Rim countries, consisting of Asian/Australian products destined for North American and European consumers and U.S./ Canadian products consigned to Asia and Australia. Closely related to the growth in air cargo shipments is the rapid expansion of overnight package carriers, their added emphasis on air cargo shipments and integrated shipping service, and the adoption of just-in-time inventory strategies. The overnight express carriers have become important factors in operations at all West Coast gateways.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) by its sheer size and volume dominates West Coast air commerce. LAX ranks as the second busiest U.S. air traffic center, in terms of landings/takeoffs, passengers and air cargo. Air cargo volume in 1990 was approximately 1.2 million tons. Among U.S. airports, only John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York, ranks ahead of LAX.
LAX is the only international cargo airport serving the Los Angeles metropolitan area, which represents the world's 11th largest economy.
The LAX Department of Airports is faced with dwindling reserve capacity and is constantly reviewing how to best utilize the few remaining unassigned acres on its 3,500-acre site -- whether to designate them for passenger or cargo use.
"In the next century we are not going to have sufficient capacity," said J.L. (Jack) Graham, chief of aviation planning at LAX. "We expect to make decisions now on how to allocate the remaining space, and we are looking to other airports in Southern California to take up some of the load. We hope to open another airport by the year 2000 to accomodate some of the future load."
A large portion of LAX air cargo traffic is handled in its Cargo City, located at the east end of the field on a 98-acre site formerly occupied by the original passenger terminal. Cargo City includes airline terminals for United, American, Delta and Trans World Airlines; a cargo warehouse for Eastern Airlines; and the huge World Way Postal Center.
Also located in Cargo City are two Department of Airports air freight buildings which house cargo operations of other airlines which have not built their own cargo units. Cargo terminals for Pan American World Airways, Japan Air Lines, Korean Air Lines and Federal Express are located on the south side of the field in the cargo area.
The airport presently is engaged in …