Gas drilling in Pittsburgh will benefit airport, cargo carriers

A proposed drilling site on land owned by the Pittsburg International Airport is expected to benefit both the airport and the air cargo industry that uses it.

Air cargo shipping has had a difficult few years, thanks to increased competition from ground and sea transportation. However, there are a few industries that have taken advantage of air shipping. One is the shale oil and gas industry.

According to a recent article in Air Cargo World, a proposed drilling site on 9,000 acres of land owned by the Pittsburgh International Airport is expected to benefit both the airport and the air cargo industry that uses it.

The airport happens to be located on top of the Marcellus Shale field, a massive formation that holds enormous oil and gas reserves. The terms of the deal stipulate the Pittsburgh Airport will receive $45.3 million from Consol Energy, which will be responsible for drilling in the area beginning in 2014. It will also be entitled to 18 percent royalties. Over the next 20 years, the news source estimates that this could amount to as much as $500 million.

For air cargo carriers, this is good news. First, the additional revenue will allow the airport to expand its facilities and developing capital projects that will make for a more efficient supply chain. As a result, operating costs for carriers will be allowed to drop. 

In addition, the drilling project will require numerous materials that will have to be flown in via cargo planes.

"We know we can get products to market a lot quicker," said Brad Penrod, president and chief strategy officer for the Allegheny County Airport. "We can provide both an air and ground relief valve to the Northeast and will become attractive for cargo." 

For their part, carriers should return the favor by adopting proof of condition services like CargoSnapshot, which allow them to be more accountable in the event of cargo damage and theft. 

Posted in Airports

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