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Mercury Air Cargo Jockeys for Cargo Space at Crowded Airports

Improvements are afoot at Los Angeles airport, according to Mercury Air Cargo Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President, John Peery, which is a good sign. However, at present, he said, Los Angeles World Airports, or LAWA, the governing body for Los Angeles airport, is largely consumed with the improvements taking place on the passenger side. 

More than $17.6 billion have been allocated to improving the airport: a new midfield terminal, twelve new gates, an extension of Bradley terminal, refurbishment of access roads, and an Automate People Mover (APM) are just a few of the improvements underway. 

Peery said much of the improvements are in order to prepare the airport for the 2028 Olympics, set to be held in L.A.

“We're talking a ways down the track, but that's their focus is to make sure that Los Angeles, as they did by building the upper terminal roadway  in 1984, is ready to take on the additional surge of passengers coming to attend the Olympics, and to have an enjoyable stay in Los Angeles, starting with their entry into the airport,” Peery said. 

The APM will be an electric train system on 2.25-mile elevated guideway running to and from several stations to the terminal, according to the LAWA site. They anticipate 30 million passengers will use the train each year. 

In order to build the train, they’ll need to take space from the cargo areas, which Peery has repeatedly stated, is limited.  The solution proposed for the APM construction is to swap one of Mercury Air Cargo’s facilities for another.

 “The APM will take [passengers] from the remote check-in, rental and car parking areas and take them right next to our Avion building,” Peery said. “They're going to take about 33,000 square feet off of our building, and they've provided an alternative facility,” he said. Mercury Air Cargo intends to relocate some of its business to the new facility – Air Freight One – as of the second week of January 2019. 

LAWA does have plans to improve the cargo side of the airport: earlier this year, LAWA released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for parties to build the first of several cargo facilities at the airport just south of Century Boulevard.

The Century Cargo Redevelopment project calls for a redevelopment of several buildings along Century Blvd. and replaced with more efficient cargo handling facilities. Mercury Air Cargo and its partners including Majestic Realty, Burns & McDonald and UBS  is one of a handful of parties that LAWA has deemed qualified to bid for the contract. Peery warns that the process to bid, break ground, and complete the facility is a few years out however. 

In other cargo-space news, Mercury Air Cargo acquired 25,000 square feet adjacent to its building at San Francisco International Airport as well. The facility, Cargo Building 900, will house the newly conjoined Alaska and Virgin airlines.

Peery said they expect 100 flights per day. The new acquisition is because the single building they previously operated at SFO was already saturated with its 13 carriers. As a result, they’ve moved the import products for those international carriers over to the new building. They began operating out of the two buildings on September 1.