The Upstate’s “Atlantic bridge” to Germany opened Saturday as global freight forwarder Senator International’s first flight touched down at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport.
Uwe Kirschbaum, who founded the company in 1984, and his son and CEO, Tim Kirschbaum, were aboard Senator’s maiden flight from Munich.
They arrived in a sleek Boeing 747-400 freighter — the same type that makes the roundtrip Germany-to-Greenville flight twice each week on Wednesdays and Saturdays — and were welcomed by a crowd of airport and local officials and employees.
“I think it’s hard to describe the scope of what this means for the Upstate,” said Dave Edwards, president and CEO of GSP, during the event at the airport’s South Cargo Ramp. “I equate it a bit to when Southwest Airlines landed here a few years ago, in terms of what it means for logistics and cargo… We have the inland port. Now, we also have Senator International.”
Uwe Kirschbaum said the service will primarily support BMW, but the company hopes to attract other customers from South Carolina and surrounding states that want to move cargo to and from Europe and beyond.
When the service was announced in July, Tim Kirschbaum said Senator’s operations in Munich would enable the company to reach other destinations in Germany, as well as Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.
Uwe Kirschbaum said 160 employees support his company’s business with BMW, which began in 1986.
“Our relationship with BMW has been a long and fruitful one,” he said. “We’re looking forward to a long relationship with [GSP].”
GSP’s new self-run fixed-base operator Cerulean Commercial Aviation will be the ground handler for Senator at the airport.
Edwards said the service could potentially have an annual $50 million impact on the region.
“This is something that will extend beyond our borders,” he said. “It’s a tremendous opportunity and a tremendous coup for the Upstate… It’s just the tip of the iceberg.”
For more information, visit senator-international.com.