The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $5.2 million in American Rescue Plan Act grant to support infrastructure improvements at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP), according to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo.
The Greenville-Spartanburg Airport District (District) will provide $3.4 million in local matching funds to the $5.2 million EDA investment for infrastructure improvements at GSP for a total investment of $8.6 million. Improvements will include the expansion of the airport’s air cargo apron and the extension of a roadway and utilities to facilitate continued expansion of air cargo facilities at GSP.
Air cargo activity at GSP has increased significantly in recent years. In 2021, the airport experienced a record-breaking 96,800 tons of cargo, an increase of over 48% from 2020. Included in that total is over 47,600 tons of international freight valued at $5.46 billion, an increase in value of 25.1% over 2020. In 2021, GSP was ranked #21 in the nation in terms of international freight tonnage handled according to USTradeNumbers.com.
The airport routinely handles shipments to and from Europe for freight forwarder Senator International on behalf of various companies in the region. In 2021, the airport also handled numerous ad hoc flights operated by major global airlines including British Airways, Air Canada, TUI Airways, and Condor among others. Through these operations, GSP and the District’s wholly owned Cerulean Commercial Aviation division gained recognition among shippers for the ability to handle unique and expedited freight shipments.
In 2019, the District opened a 110,000 square foot air cargo facility along with a 17-acre aircraft apron, which can accommodate up to three Boeing 747-8 freighter aircraft simultaneously. To accommodate additional growth, the District recently broke ground on a 50,000 square foot expansion to the existing air cargo facility. The expansion is expected to open in late summer of 2022.
“We are pleased to accept this grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The grant will allow the District to continue to invest in infrastructure that will allow air cargo operations to grow in the Upstate South Carolina region,” said GSP Airport District President and CEO Dave Edwards. “With these improvements, we will be well-positioned to be a major player in the international supply chain.”
The South Carolina Appalachian Council of Governments (SCACOG) assisted the District with securing this grant. The EDA funds the SCACOG to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment, and create new jobs.