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air cargo plane with packages and crates on the runway

Our Region’s Future Air Cargo System

Future Air Cargo Safety

Currently, the movement of people and goods by air is one of the safest freight transportation modes in the United States. The development and trial deployment of new air freight-related technologies will increase the safety of air freight’s human employees, the vehicles carrying goods, supporting infrastructure, and the cargoes themselves.

Future Air Cargo Infrastructure Condition

Today, runways are the vital infrastructure network necessary for the transport of air cargo. Eight public airports currently operate in the OKI region, but only the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) transports air cargo. For the foreseeable future, CVG’s runways will continue to carry the majority of air cargo through traditional jet aircraft traveling long distances with heavy loads.


However, technology is swiftly advancing to introduce air cargo transport vehicles that do not require a runway for take offs and landings. Rather, future air deliveries will utilize landing pads for vertical operations and distribution facilities with direct connections to and from road freight vehicles, a.k.a. trucks, of all shapes and sizes. With the adoption of new technology, all of the region’s public airports may witness increased opportunities for handling air cargo by 2050 through playing a key role in last mile parcel delivery to local residents and businesses.

Future Air Cargo Mobility and Reliability

CVG is not near capacity due to its four runways. To ensure continued growth and operational stability moving forward, CVG is actively looking to diversify and increase the airport’s overall share of general air cargo.


The only threat facing the region’s air cargo capacity is that of drayage or the ability to accommodate future shipment growth between CVG and delivery generation and termination points along the region’s roadway network. New technologies offer help in identifying ways to optimize regional freight flow volumes.

Future Air Cargo Environmental Sustainability

CVG and their aviation partners are leading the OKI region towards greater environmentally sustainable innovations. Technology is being applied to traditional air cargo aircraft to make fuels and ground transport vehicles cleaner and quieter. At the same time, tech firms and freight companies are partnering to develop entirely new types of electric aircraft that can transport cargo. These efforts are creating a whole new future e-viation industry.


Future Air Cargo Economic Competitiveness

The region is expected to see the value of air cargo increase more than 115% between today and 2050. This growth has a direct correlation to the competitiveness of the region. The greater the increase in the value of goods being purchased and produced, the more economic output growth for the region.


While future growth in air cargo is forecasted for the OKI region, the continued availability of a highly trained workforce in aviation and logistics is one of the most pressing issues for CVG and express shipping partners, today and into the future.

The Value of Future Air Cargo Technologies

As we look to the challenges for the future of air cargo, there are a growing number of technological advances — under varying degrees of implementation or examination today — that will greatly assist in meeting regional goals. A brief overview of those air cargo-oriented technologies showing the greatest potential benefits to air freight safety, infrastructure maintenance, mobility and reliability, environmental sustainability and economic competitiveness is discussed in this freight plan. As shown in the table, each new technology has value in addressing multiple goals simultaneously.

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