"This is certainly not a development of any magnitude to cause anybody
any shock," airport spokesman Victor Gill said.
Despite the drop, the number of cargo flights stayed steady, Gill
Six of the airport's seven cargo haulers saw sharp drops, but the two
with the largest volumes suffered most. Federal Express (down 19.4%) and
United Parcel Service (down 17%) took the biggest hits.
Officials at Federal Express, headquartered in Memphis, declined to
discuss the fall off in business.
"We don't comment on our volume," Fed Ex spokesman Michael Cody said.
"That's against corporate policy."
The commercial airlines, who haul freight in the bellies of their
planes also experienced declines. Alaska Airlines, which lost 29.4% of
its business from the same period in 1999, saw the biggest decline. The
exception was Southwest Airlines, which shipped more cargo in the first
half of this year than last year at Burbank Airport. The company's volume
increased 6.2% in the comparison.
The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority collects landing fees
on cargo shipments. The authority collected $201,672 during July. Fed Ex
and UPS make up the lion's share of monthly departures, combining for
about 60 each month.
While overall cargo was down, the U.S. Postal Service shipped 27% more
mail than during the same period in 1999. Mail volume jumped from 3.3
million pounds to 4.2 million.
Gill said he couldn't pinpoint the cause for the drop and cautioned
against reading too much into the numbers.
"People tend to focus on particular periods," Gill said. "But the real
trends are over the longer term."