An extended 3,050m (10,000ft) runway that is set to open at Greater Moncton International airport (GMIA) in New Brunswick, Canada, on 17 October will boost the airport’s ambitions of growing as a trans-shipment centre between the USA and Europe.
The new runway will enable Boeing 747s with full payloads on board to land at the airport, which views its new asset as a tool to woo more cargo carriers to GMIA. “It will be a ‘real runway’,” says GMIA’s president and chief executive Rob Robichaud, who adds that the longer runway will be able to handle almost all commercial aircraft types.
GMIA has two runways – one is 2,440m long and the other is 1,880m. The shorter runway is the one being extended.
Iceland-based Bluebird Cargo began flying to the airport earlier this year, operating a fully loaded Boeing 737 to GMIA daily. The airport is in talks with the carrier, which transports mostly seafood on the 737, to add a second flight.
With the extended runway, Robichaud believes that the airport will be able to attract major cargo carriers to land there. Cargo airline Atlas Air, which had wanted to operate to GMIA, had to go to Halifax Stanfield International airport because of the current runway restrictions at GMIA.
As it is, the airport’s ideal location on the Great Circle route makes it an increasingly popular stop on trans-shipment routes between Europe and the USA. Of the 800 daily flights at GMIA, 200 are cargo flights, says Robichaud.
The airport’s proximity to two important border crossing points and a major US highway, which will take trucks 12h to reach New York, have made GMIA an attractive trans-shipment airport.
“Trans-shipment allows us to have aircraft stop in, drop off goods and load them onto trucks to be taken into the USA,” he says.
Shipping goods through GMIA saves cargo carriers time, as they can now avoid going through Toronto or Montreal. Robichaud says shipments bound for Europe have come from as far as Vancouver.
The airport expects cargo volumes to grow to about 75,000t annually by 2032, a big leap from the more than 22,000t it handles currently.
“We have a lot going for us, and we are trying to leverage everything we have. We are convinced we are going to be successful,” says Robichaud.