Air

Air-freight infrastructure is a vital for moving high-value goods.  Air freight is used to transport time-sensitive (perishables, express parcels, etc.) and value-sensitive goods (just-in-time inputs, pharmaceuticals, etc.).  Air freight is limited to time and value sensitive shipments because of cost.  Air cannot compete on a strictly cost per ton basis when compared to truck, water, or rail. Figure 1 displays the locations, classifications, and freight activity of MAFC airports.  The colored markers show freight activity at the airport and are separated by type.  Commercial airports are publicly owned and defined as having more than 2,500 scheduled passengers per year.  Reliever airports are designated by FAA as airports that relieve congestion at commercial airports. General Aviation airports are those sites that do not meet the classification of commercial or reliever.  The MAFC has a total of 817 airports, the majority of which are classified as general aviation.  Additionally, the MAFC has several critical air freight hubs including the UPS Worldport in Louisville, FedEx’s second largest airport hub in Indianapolis, and Chicago’s O’Hare International.

Figure 1: Air Freight Infrastructure in the MAFC

Source: Esri Business Analyst, 2011

Beyond counting airports in the MAFC, Table 1 displays the total tonnage of emplaned and landed mail and freight in the MAFC.  Enplaned can be thought of as originating in the MAFC and landed is freight destined for the MAFC.  As such, in 2010 the MAFC was responsible for 7 million tons or 23.1 percent of total air freight activity in the US.[1]

Table 1: 2010 Air Freight in the MAFC

State Enplaned (Tons) Landed (Tons) Total Activity (Tons) MAFC Share
Illinois 791,565 957,976 1,749,541 25.0%
Indiana 546,405 509,747 1,056,153 15.1%
Iowa 58,401 52,341 110,742 1.6%
Kansas 11,700 17,311 29,011 0.4%
Kentucky 1,432,657 1,370,455 2,803,112 40.0%
Michigan 123,702 161,248 284,950 4.1%
Minnesota 124,860 131,251 256,111 3.7%
Missouri 100,436 102,037 202,473 2.9%
Ohio 203,091 191,379 394,470 5.6%
Wisconsin 57,300 58,533 115,834 1.7%
Total MAFC 3,450,118 3,552,279 7,002,396 100.0%

Source: Air Cargo in the Mid-America Freight Coalition Region, 2012

As with the other modes of transportation air freight contributes to employment in the MAFC.  In this case, a map is largely unnecessary because employment is generally at the airport in the form of airport operations and air traffic control.  Air freight is similar to maritime transportation in that it is a relatively small employer and supports very few businesses in the MAFC.

Table 2: Air Freight Employment and Businesses in the MAFC

State Air Freight Employment Air Freight Businesses Total State Employment Total Business Count
Iowa 186 28 5,884,453 476,575
Illinois 1,082 122 2,938,335 222,320
Indiana 539 39 1,607,190 136,378
Kansas 40 8 1,407,272 123,790
Kentucky 638 25 1,819,898 153,924
Michigan 272 81 4,305,125 371,368
Minnesota 289 73 2,888,004 221,993
Missouri 430 44 2,883,801 239,690
Ohio 364 75 5,634,785 413,878
Wisconsin 227 54 3,063,309 244,656
MAFC 4,067 549 32,432,172 2,604,572

Source: Esri Business Analyst, 2011

[1] The MAFC total for Table 1  double counts trade within the MAFC when thinking about total tonnage traveling by air.

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