GSP Breaks Ground on New $30 Million Air Cargo Facility

Employees of Senator International celebrating new success in front of one of their cargo planes.
Senator International

In the past seven years, Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport has experienced a dramatic increase in cargo traffic and it’s preparing to better support the Upstate’s economy by breaking ground on a new $30 million cargo facility.

The 110,000-square-foot warehouse and 13-acre cargo ramp are scheduled to open in the spring of 2019. It will be able to accommodate three Boeing 747-800 aircraft simultaneously.

“This new facility is going to be more than a significant accomplishment for Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport,” said Dave Edwards, GSP’s president and CEO. “It’s going to provide much-needed support for major manufacturers and have a direct economic impact on the Upstate.”

In fiscal year 2018, the airport district’s Cerulean Aviation supported more than 1,200 cargo flights. GSP’s cargo numbers increased nearly 39 percent between 2016 and 2017 and the airport moved from No. 84 to No. 72 on the Federal Aviation Administration’s list ranking airport cargo data.

Some of the cargo passing through GSP consists of automobiles, automotive parts and healthcare equipment. This month, the airport is also the entry point for more than 550 horses competing in the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, N.C.

“Our business in the Upstate has grown and GSP has provided tremendous support in making this happen,” said Tim -Oliver Kirschbaum, CEO for Senator International, a German-based freight, shipping and logistics service. “We are looking forward to continuing work with GSP while serving our clients in the Upstate and this new facility will make operations even more efficient. When we started our Senator Atlantic Bridge (cargo flights between GSP and Germany’s Munich Airport and Frankfurt-Hahn Airport) in November 2016, we proposed that after a period of time, our flying program would increase. Today we operate up to eight flights a week, which makes an increase of apron and warehouse space necessary. We look forward to this new environment for our employees.”

Senator will have 53 staff on-site at the new cargo facility when it opens.

In 2017, the Greenville-Spartanburg Airport District took on its fixed-base operator services by launching Cerulean Aviation. Cerulean, not only supports general aviation aircraft and fueling, but it also serves as an air cargo service provider for GSP. Cerulean’s cargo and aircraft services include on-airport cargo facilities, build-up and break-down of cargo, BUP transfer, bulk and containerized aircraft loading and unloading, on-call charter cargo handling, customs documentation processing and aircraft refueling.

“A healthy community requires an airport that not only meets the needs for passenger travel but has the ability to support industry,” said John Lummus, president and CEO of Upstate SC Alliance. “That ability to receive and move parts and finished products leads to jobs.”

GSP’s new cargo apron is partially being funded by $11 million from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program. The cargo apron is expected to cost $17 million and the warehouse will cost $13 million.

WK Dickson, based in Charlotte, N.C., is the engineer for the cargo ramp. McCarthy Improvements, Inc., based in Davenport, Iowa, is the contractor for the cargo ramp. Haskell, based in Jacksonville, Fla., is the designer and builder for the cargo building.