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ROCKFORD, IL/LEIPZIG-HALLE, Germany: January 23, 2019. Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) has partnered with Leipzig/Halle Airport (LEJ) to focus on mutually beneficial cargo strategies including the possibility of launching a direct freighter service between the two airports.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to partner with such a closely matched peer airport to help accelerate our cargo growth,” said Mike Dunn, executive director at RFD. “RFD has a lot of knowledge, efficiencies, best practices and lessons learned that we look forward to sharing with LEJ, and we look forward to gaining additional expertise from LEJ through this partnership. It’s a win-win for both organizations.”

Leipzig Halle and RFD dealLEJ, just under two hours by truck from Berlin and its still-unfinished US$10.7 billion Brandenburg Airport, is host Aerologic and DHL Express and now the second largest cargo hub in Germany. RFD is about one hour 40 minutes from downtown Chicago and hosts a sizeable UPS express operation. As a result both airports say they are developing complementary e-commerce strategies.

As the two airport teams met recently (right), they noted they also have  German trade in common: Germany is the fourth-largest export market for manufacturers in Illinois, after Canada, Mexico and China. Illinois exports to Germany totalled US$3.44 billion in 2017, a 71.2 percent increase since 2009.

According to the Illinois Department of Commerce, some 221 German companies employ over 35,000 people in Illinois at 825 locations.

Cooperation between RFD and LEJ is expected to include integration of business systems, sharing IT expertise, strengthening Germany-Illinois trade and coordinating market intelligence to strengthen their respective businesses.

RFD has reported a 55 percent year-on-year increase in cargo volume last year to 2.13 billion pounds. This follows a 50 percent increase in 2017 when nearly 1.4 billion pounds travelled through the airport.

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