Speaking at yesterday's annual ATL Cargo Awards co-hosted with the Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC), Southwell said he firmly believed that the world's busiest passenger gateway could also become a major cargo player.
“Atlantans are visionaries. Anything we say we’re going to do, we’re going to do it,” noted Southwell.
“When we stand here, and we say that we’re going to move from 10th in the nation in cargo movement to within the top five in the nation, we’re going to do that, too.”
The annual awards ceremony honours businesses and leaders for their achievements in air cargo in addition to welcoming new cargo carriers to ATL and looking at burgeoning cargo opportunities at ATL.
ATL’s assistant general manager for commercial development, Vivica Brown, said: “I’d like to thank the cargo employees, freight forwarders, ground handlers, airlines and trucking companies.
“All of you who have helped make Hartsfield-Jackson a formidable contender in cargo aviation – a rising star in the industry – watch out world, here we come.”
The world’s most travelled airport, Hartsfield-Jackson made history last year as the first airport ever to serve more than 100 million passengers in a single year.
Cargo traffic at ATL also experienced substantial growth as it accommodated more than 626,000 tonnes of cargo in 2015, up 4% increase on the previous year.
The airport revealed that in 2015 it handled the llargest piece of cargo ever to pass through ATL – a 200-ton power turbine was flown from Hartsfield-Jackson to Argentina.
During a special luncheon, ATL officials recognised and welcomed new cargo carriers AirbridgeCargo, CAL Cargo, China Cargo Airlines and Turkish Airlines.
Delta Air Lines was named 'Cargo Airline of the Year' on the basis of the 200,000 tonnes of cargo handled at Hartsfield-Jackson in 2015.
Other awards went to United Airlines (Belly-Cargo Airline of the Year); Korean Air (All-Cargo Airline of the Year); Amerijet International employee, Denise Feltman (Cargo Employee of the Year); Kintetsu World Express (Freight Forwarder of the Year); and J&P Hall Express (Trucking Company of the Year).