Psst! Amazon. Play your cards right, and you could find room for another cargo operation for Amazon Air at Albany International Airport.
The airport has 25 acres of land near its Air Cargo Facility off Old Niskayuna Road in Latham that could accommodate a good-sized commercial operation, says airport spokesman Doug Myers.
“The Airport Authority is prepared to entertain proposals for the property,” he wrote in response to an email in which I wondered whether we might ever see Amazon as an airport cargo tenant, given the fulfillment center expected to be built for the e-commerce giant a half-hour to the south in Schodack.
Amazon has been moving aggressively into air services, breaking ground in May on a huge air cargo hub outside Cincinnati and adding smaller, leased “gateway” facilities at other airports for package sorting and forwarding.
The company also has been rapidly building out its air fleet — it says 70 leased aircraft should be in the air by 2021 — which, combined with new long-haul trucks and other initiatives, is meant to help speed package delivery to customers.
Right now, couriers FedEx and UPS are the prime tenants at Albany International’s 55,300-square-foot Air Cargo Facility, which opened in 1999, soon after the new terminal’s debut. The airport formerly had a cargo facility adjacent to the old terminal, but it was demolished and the space became a parking lot. It’s now the site of a new 1,000-space parking garage due to open in March, Myers said.
FedEx and UPS fly from the airport weekdays, one flight each in the evening. FedEx also has two “feeder” flights that arrive daily, Myers said.
From Albany, UPS flies to Bradley International in Connecticut and then on to its main hub in Louisville, Ky.; FedEx flies directly to its hub in Memphis. Around the holidays, the companies often add a second daily flight, Myers said.
There also are two smaller, feeder airlines that provide freight service at the airport.
In all, the carriers moved 18,896 tons of cargo at the airport last year, Myers said. In 2016, it was 18,692 tons.
The current cargo facility includes an apron with six aircraft positions, 13 truck docks, three drive-in doors and 20-foot-high bays. Myers said any improvements are not expected before 2024, covered by $2 million anticipated in the Airport Authority’s next five-year capital plan.
But the authority and Aviation Facilities Co., or AFCO, which oversees day-to-day cargo operations at the airport, would respond in the interim to space requests “by new and existing cargo carriers or warehouse operations,” Myers said.
“The Airport Authority is prepared to take immediate action should it be approached by a potential cargo client,” he added. “The authority would work with the client to fashion a lease agreement for expansion of the existing facility or an entirely new structure.”
Hear that Amazon?
Marlene Kennedy is a freelance columnist. Opinions expressed in her column are her own and not necessarily the newspaper’s. Reach her [email protected] .