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Wednesday, Sep 27, 2023

BURBANK—Burbank Airport Sees Cargo Total Take Sharp Drop

While cargo volume is soaring at other local airports, it has suddenly and inexplicably taken a nose-dive at Burbank Airport. For the first six months of the year, Burbank suffered a 16 percent drop in cargo volume, from 45.2 million pounds in the first half of 1999 to 38 million for the like period this year. And the drop was not confined to one or two carriers it is spread evenly among all major airlines and overnight delivery services. Federal Express and United Parcel Service, for example, saw their cargo volumes drop by 19.4 percent and 17.5 percent, respectively, during the first six months of 2000. Alaska Airlines saw a 29.4 percent drop and United Airlines’ volume went down by 9.1 percent. The only major carrier that saw an increase in Burbank Airport cargo from January through June was Southwest Airlines, whose volume rose by 6.2 percent from the 1999 period. At the same time, the number of passengers at the airport has stayed pretty much flat from last year, and there has been no comparable decrease in the number of flights. All this raises the question of why Burbank has fallen out of favor as a cargo airport, and airport officials threw up their hands last week when asked for an explanation. “We don’t really have an answer that fits the facts,” said Victor Gill, a spokesman for the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority. “It seems more than just normal market fluctuations because the overall volume of air cargo in and out of Southern California has not come down.” In fact, total cargo volume at LAX is up 9 percent for the first six months, and at Ontario International it’s up 9.1 percent. While cargo volume is generally expressed as the aggregate of incoming and outgoing cargo, the volume of incoming cargo has increased dramatically at Ontario by 21 percent for this period, whereas incoming cargo at Burbank dropped 27.2 percent. This suggests that Ontario may be receiving a lot of shipments that previously went to Burbank. “That could be part of the explanation,” said Bob Godlewski, a spokesman for UPS in Atlanta.

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