ANCHORAGE (AP) -- United Airlines has signed a five-year lease with Anchorage International Airport's new $18 million CargoPort, and Northwest Airlines is considering moving its airfreight operations into the facility.
The Alaska CargoPort was conceived several years ago when Austin, Texas-based Lynxs Group and Williams Alaska Petroleum Co. joined to build the huge cargo complex to complement the city's soaring airfreight industry.
''We took the attitude that if we built it, they would come,'' said Ken Lythgoe, general manager at Alaska CargoPort. ''Now we're seeing that happen.''
United plans this summer to move into 10,000 square feet of the 100,000-square-foot cargo facility, said Ron Lance, United's general manager in Anchorage. The space is nearly double the size of United's existing freight-handling facility in Anchorage.
The carrier might eventually lease several parking pads at the Alaska CargoPort and use them for swapping cargo between planes, Lance said.
United brings two to four planes a day to Anchorage at the same time, half from Asia and half from the Lower 48. They swap cargo among themselves then head for their destinations.
Northwest is negotiating for 63,000 square feet and four parking pads, and Atlas Air is considering a lease on 9,300 square feet at the Alaska CargoPort.
Northwest spokesman Scott Ingham wouldn't say when his airline expects to make a decision.
''Having additional room to grow is very important to us,'' he said. Northwest averages about 34 flights a week through Anchorage.
Northwest is bidding to fly more cargo flights between the United States and China, with stops in Anchorage.
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