Saturday, November 26, 2016

New cargo carrier coming to Stockton Metropolitan Airport

STOCKTON — A new cargo carrier soon will be flying its planes into Stockton Metropolitan Airport.

Earlier this month, airport officials announced Atlas Air had been issued a permit to fly into the transportation hub.

The New York-based company has recently agreed to fly 20 aircraft for Internet retailer Amazon.com, which currently operates four flights a day out of Stockton with American Transport Services Group, Inc., of Wilmington, Ohio.

Deputy Airport Director Ron Elliott said it is unclear when Atlas Air will begin flying out of the hub or how many flights it will operate.

With the holiday season approaching, Elliott said at least one additional flight a day could be added.

“Right now we’ve got a bit of a space problem,” Elliott said Wednesday. “Our aviation ramp is too small for (Atlas Air), and they said if we could double the space they’d double the number of flights in and out of here.”

To that end, Elliott said the airport recently added a project to design and engineer ramp expansion plans to its capital improvement program. Plans are anticipated to be approved within a year, he said.

The current aviation ramp, which is roughly four acres of concrete that surrounds several major businesses inside the airport, can accommodate only two cargo planes as they make their way to the airport’s runways, Elliott said.

The airport was recently awarded a $2.6 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to resurface the 50-year-old ramp, which officials said had turned to crumbling asphalt and posed a safety issue.
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If the ramp expanded, Elliott said, there is potential to attract more cargo carriers to the airport.

“A lot of these carriers have seen how well Amazon is operating here, and how our location is in great proximity to (Amazon warehouses in) Tracy, Mountain House and Patterson,” he said. “(Amazon) was operating out of Oakland before, and this gives them a break from going over the Altamont every day.”

Once Atlas Air begins operations, Elliott said it is anticipated that employment could increase by approximately 100 jobs at the airport. Revenue is also expected to increase by as much as $800,000 as well, he said.

While Amazon operates four flights out of the airport a day, a recent pilot strike at ABX Air, a subsidiary of American Transport Services Group, has reduced the number of flights to three, Elliott said.

ABX Air is working to stop the strike as soon as possible, according to bloomberg.com.

Atlas Air is a subsidiary of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, which serves commercial and military clients. It has locations in Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Miami, as well as throughout Europe, Asia, and South America.

For more information about Atlas Air, go to atlasair.com. For more information about the airport’s agreement with Atlas Air, go to flystockton.com/blog.

- Source: http://www.recordnet.com

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