Overseas Air Cargo Service, Airborne Export-Producing Industries and U.S. Cities, 1980-1995


Melissa Loughlin

January 1998

Report no. MnDOT 1998-13


Economics, Modes

This report presents results of an analysis of changes in the geographic patterns of U.S. markets for overseas cargo service between 1980 and the mid-1990s. The study determines which U.S. cities have and have not participated in the period's dramatic service expansion, and the ways in which their competitive positions have changed as a result. The study identifies industries that rely heavily on air cargo service to facilitate export activities and examines their employment distributions among U.S. cities to demonstrate demand for overseas air cargo service. A classification of U.S. metropolitan regions based on the mismatches revealed improvement or decline in service supply and demand, as well as identifying cities with winning and losing records during the period. Case studies of Portland, Oregon; St. Louis; Washington-Baltimore; and Minneapolis--St. Paul indicate the influences of location, local economic conditions, airline networks, carrier health, and industry changes; and leadership on and off the airport. Study results make clear the need for coordinated local and regional efforts to actively promote better air service for communities in the face of competition for limited service. Civic leaders must address those issues within their influence and develop long-range plans carefully attuned to concurrent airline industry and regulatory changes.

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