The Upstate’s “Atlantic Bridge” to Germany will soon expand.
Senator International plans to increase its number of direct round-trip cargo flights between Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) and Frankfurt-Hahn Airport from two per week to three in early 2018.
“It has been a real success,” said Tim-Oliver Kirschbaum, co-chairman and CEO of Senator International, during a visit Wednesday, Nov. 29, to GSP in celebration of the one-year anniversary of his Hamburg, Germany-based freight forwarding company’s transatlantic cargo service.
“This is mainly because of loyal customers that have joined the party,” Kirschbaum added. “And an extremely motivated team that we have here at the airport… We’re very proud of what we have achieved.”
Via the service, Senator International transports a range of industrial products, including whole vehicles, aboard its Boeing 747-400F aircraft.
The operation at GSP is based in a 17,600-square-foot warehouse beside the airport’s south cargo ramp.
Senator International has additional space for some related operations in about half of Spartanburg-based Johnson Development Associates’ more than 362,000-square-foot building at 769 Flatwood Industrial Drive in Spartanburg County.
At GSP, the commercial division of the airport’s new, self-run fixed-base operator Cerulean Aviation provides ground services for Senator International.
Officials said during the service’s first year, it registered 109 international flights that exported about 8.5 million pounds and imported around 17.5 million pounds of cargo.
“We’re here to really celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Senator Atlantic Bridge,” said Dave Edwards, president and CEO of GSP. “It has been a great first year. I won’t say it has been easy. Along the way, I think we all have learned together how to deal with this operation.”
GSP and Senator International officials said the service could have an annual economic impact of $50 million on the Upstate.
Edwards said the airport is already moving forward with plans to increase its ability to accommodate more cargo volume.
GSP is currently in design for a new cargo apron and taxiway that would be located on 10 acres to the south of FedEx center at the northern end of the airport’s runway.
The $15 million project is anticipated to go out to bid in the spring of 2018, Edwards said. Construction should begin by the summer of next year, with completion expected by the summer of 2019.
The new apron will be able to simultaneously accommodate two 747s (maybe three) and several smaller aircraft.
Edwards said GSP also plans to issue a proposal request during the next 30 days for a new 100,000-square-foot cargo facility that will have access to Gateway Drive, Highway 101, and Brockman McClimon Road.
Both projects should be under construction during the same time period, he said. The target completion for the warehouse facility is in 2019.
“It’s very important for the future growth of cargo [at GSP] and the future growth of businesses here in the Upstate,” Edwards said. “In the end, all of that equates to economic impact for our community – good jobs, high-paying jobs that we all want to have going forward, and growing existing business and bringing new business to the community.”