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Southern Airports Want Reputations As Latin Lovers
Realizing Latin America's potential for exports, southern gateway airports servicing the region are billing themselves not only as freight ports of exit but also entry.
Nine gateway airports preside over the air routes linking major regional, national and international markets to Central and South America and the commercial centers of the Caribbean. Seven are distributed along the great crescent formed by the southeastern United States -- Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Memphis, Miami, New Orleans and Orlando. San Juan, Puerto Rico, occupies a strategic hub position in the Caribbean. New York, with three airports, makes up in service what it lacks in proximity.
Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is a new entry to the Latin American gateway list.
"In the days when commercial airplanes had limited range, it was logical for them to stop in Miami. But airplanes from South America and Central America don't need to stop in Miami any more. They can easily fly on to Atlanta. Traditionally, they speak their language in Miami, but Latin American business executives are beginning to see the economics involved in serving Atlanta's market directly. This past year we added Aeropostal. We expect to add other Latin American carriers," said John Braden, airport director of marketing.
The airport has three cargo complexes, comprising more than 1 million square feet of freight handling and processing facilities.
US Perishables is constructing a $3 million expansion that will provide a temperature-controlled environment for fish, fruit, vegetables, flowers, and other perishable products. The 55,000-square-foot building will have portions maintained at -41 degrees, -33 degrees and -5 degrees Fahrenheit. Provisions also will be made for fumigation and washing services. The operation is expected to draw much of its freight from Latin American countries. The building will have two ramp positions, and US Perishables will provide ramp cargo space to carriers who do not have their own airport facilities.
US Perishables also is establishing a 15,000-square-foot equine and livestock facility.
East of the airport, a foreign trade zone known as Atlanta Tradeport is being developed to house specialty cargo facilities, warehouse/distribution centers, office and retail space, and an international trading center.
Thirty-four licensed customs brokers and 80 domestic and international freight forwarders operate in the Atlanta area, nearly triple the number of five years ago. More than 60 motor freight carriers serve the area.
Miami International Airport (MIA), with its …