Moncton airport struggling to get cargo business off the ground

The Greater Moncton International Airport has lost another regular cargo route to Europe after KF Aerospace, which was running flights full of seafood directly to Europe, halted service in December. The airport has been trying to build a scheduled overseas cargo service for years.

Airport has lost another cargo service despite $24 million invested on 3,000 meter runway

A cargo plane taxis at the Greater Moncton International Airport. (CBC)

The Greater Moncton International Airport has lost another regular cargo route to Europe after KF Aerospace, which was running flights full of seafood directly to Europe, halted service in December.

The airport has been trying to build a scheduled overseas cargo service for years. The deal with KF Aerospace, a British Columbia-based carrier, was only announced in July. 

Bernard LeBlanc, president and CEO of the airport says financially, it didn't work out for KF Aerospace.

This is not the first regular European route to fail. In 2014, the airport entered into a deal with Isreali-based C.A.L. Cargo Airlines, which is no longer running.

Two years earlier, in 2012, Cargo Jet attempted regular direct flights to Cologne, Germany and was cancelled after just seven flights, costing the airport hundreds of thousands of dollars.

News of the latest failure came Monday, as the airport announced the results of an economic impact study.

Despite its difficulty trying to build a cargo route to Europe, the news was mostly good. The airport said it generates $665 million in economic activity annually.

Passenger travel is up by more than four per cent and cargo shipments are up three per cent over last year.

LeBlanc would love to see those numbers go up, but he says there's only so much the airport could do. Shipping seafood is a seasonal business.

"So it's a function of the seafood producers finding clients in Europe or Asia and shipping it by air, so we can influence by trying to bring that together, but it's a bit more challenging to grow," he said.

Carole O'Reilly, CEO of the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce, said she would love to see more passengers using the the airport, as well.

"Either through a direct flight out of Boston, or a return to the New York that we once had. The business community was really dependent on that, and it did have a very negative impact on some businesses when that was taken away," said O'Reilly.

As for the cargo business, $24 million was invested by the airport on a 3,000 meter runway three years ago and there is hope that investment will pay off soon.
 

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.