Freighter operators' choice of airport: a three-stage process

With increasing levels of congestion at the major cargo hubs and further restrictions on noise and night-time flying, freighter operators’ airport choice is a complex and important issue. The aim is to identify the factors that affect the airport choice of freighter operators through a review of the published literature. The literature reviewed includes work relating to passenger hub location, airport quality and airline network configuration, and other works relating to airport choice to paint a full picture of the current research in this area. The literature shows that freighter operators initially choose a shortlist of possible airports based on geography and then investigate any restrictions in place, such as capacity caps or noise limits that might block operations from that airport. Only when these hurdles have been cleared do freighter operators consider attributes of airport quality such as charges and terminal facilities, as well as other influences such as freight forwarder presence and airport marketing. Of particular prominence is the impact of legislation on airport choice.