Washington State cherries are in hot demand in Asia, attracting two air cargo airlines to launch routes with the Port of Seattle‘s Seattle-Tacoma airport last week. First up on June 11th was China Eastern Airlines, which will call on Sea-Tac once a week for the next 13 weeks. Using a Boeing 777 freighter plane, China Eastern Airlines plans to transport up to 90 metric tons of Northwest Cherries per flight. TDA’s very own Brady Prim was on hand to witness the launch of the new route (and enjoy some fine cherries).
And last Friday was the official launch of Nippon Cargo Airline‘s new cargo service at Sea-Tac, which will use a Boeing 747-8 freighter to bring cherries to Tokyo, Japan. It is scheduled to call on Sea-Tac four times with plans to transport 134 metric tons per flight, mostly for Washington cherries, with the anticipation to schedule more flights later in the summer.
According to the Port of Seattle, Air freight between Asia and Seattle has reached record levels, surpassing 62,000 metric tons in 2013. And so far this year, air cargo has increased with Asia by 33%.
FedEx is the largest volume carrier at Seatac handling 41% of all air cargo. This year, the port is scheduled to finish a $20 million project to expand, improve and upgrade air cargo freighter parking facilities on the north end of the airfield.