Laredo International takes aim at cargo with development project

By Damian Brett

Aviation Facilities Company Management (AFCO), in a joint venture with American Triple I Partners (ATI), has been selected to develop cargo and logistics facilities at Laredo International Airport (LRD) in south Texas.

The group anticipates developing a range of facilities and infrastructure, including cargo, logistics, and general aviation on a 75 acre plot of land. 

AFCO president and chief executive Charles Stipancic said that the project is still early in the process and details would follow soon.

However, he said its focus would be primarily cargo and logistics on three of the four tracts that it was selected to develop.

“The largest is over  51 acres and supportive of a significant air cargo and logistics complex that would include aircraft parking, significant under roof facilities that could include general cargo handling and possibly  temperature controlled space, and surface areas to support over the road trucking equipment and related operations,” he said.

“We also envisage other airport facilities including industrial/flex/office and possible MRO facilities.  The smallest of the four parcels consists of 2.5 acres that we envision as being developed as corporate aircraft hangar facilities or a use that supports existing airport operations and uses.”

He added that the pace of development will ultimately be dictated by demand.

The airport had been enjoying strong cargo demand growth over the last few years, peaking in 2018, although this eased in 2020.

Looking ahead, AFCO believes that the geopolitical climate and Covid-19 recovery will quickly instigate a return to growth.

“Trade between the US and Mexico, ‘on-shoring’ of manufacturing from Asia, and e-commerce trends, all bode well for LRD and having modern air cargo and logistics facilities at the airport are critical to attract these uses,” said Stipancic.

The partners vision for the airport also includes integrating air cargo with growing truck and rail in the region as part of the area’s position as a gateway to/from Mexico.

ATI chairman and co-founder, Henry Cisneros, said: “Despite the challenging global environment amidst Covid-19, airport leadership is pushing forward to have Laredo International Airport continue to play its vital role in making the City of Laredo one of the top trade ports in the US. This is a real testament to a local government team that we’re honored to call our partners.”

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