JFK, Newark Liberty Air Cargo Helping Sustain Nation’s Health

John F. Kennedy and Newark Liberty International airports are more than just global gateways for passengers. They’re global gateways for cargo, too, which includes everything from salmon in sushi to memory chips in iPhones.

Today, this pair of powerhouse cargo hubs have become more important than ever for a nation relying on the speedy delivery of life-saving medical equipment and pharmaceuticals, as well as everyday cleaning and sanitary products, in its fight against the coronavirus.

“JFK and Newark airports are established gateways for the movement of high-value and time-sensitive commodities,” said Mike Bednarz, Manager of Air Cargo Business Development. “Our airport operations enable these goods to get where they need to go.”

The two airports are well-equipped to meet the challenge as the region is in the midst of its most difficult weeks since the onset of the pandemic.

In 2019, JFK and Newark Airports – home to 100 commercial airlines and 18 freight-only airlines that feed a massive network of more than 500 freight forwarding companies – combined to handle nearly 2.2 million tons of air cargo for the region.

Optical and medical instruments, including face masks and testing kits, accounted for over 34,000 tons of the 2.2 million total last year, and the value of those items alone exceeded $9 billion. At Newark, the top commodity by export value was pharmaceuticals, valued at over $2 billion.

As buyers and vendors increasingly turn to online outlets for commerce and goods, Newark Airport has become the regional hub for small packages, while JFK has assumed the position as the region’s leading cargo center. Cargo demand at these airports remains strong despite the recent decrease in passenger demand due to the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s not a stretch to say that Newark and JFK airports are literally saving lives right now,” said Pasquale DiFulco, Marketing and Communications Manager for the Port Authority’s Aviation Department. “These airports’ contributions to the region during this pandemic cannot be overstated.”

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