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Mid-America Airport Sets Up Trade Route With China

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SCOTT AFB, IL (KTVI) - Mid America airport`s director used the International Air Cargo Association meeting in Atlanta Wednesday to announce a partnership with Ningbo Lishe Airport in China.

The idea is to establish a trade route. What that means is starting sometime around the first of the year flights from China will come to Mid-America airport to pick up cargo shipped in by other flights from South America.  Thus creating a trade route the Chinese need mostly to bring them fresh produce.

It`s expected to start with one flight a week and build from there. This gives Mid-America a new source of revenue from landing fees and refueling. Plus, potential jobs for cargo companies that would set up shop at the airport.  County board chairman Mark Kern says this will not be a silver bullet.

"I think the potential is strong, we are building a trade route, it is not as easy as saying we are going to attract and airline. What we are doing is connecting up buyers and sellers from across the world and we are centering them here at mid America airport." said Mark Kern.

Even before the first plane lands from China Mid-America has its first customer. Back in June the governor was there as they cut the ribbon for a company called North Bay Produce. That company ships fresh berries around the world. They will be the first shipper to take advantage of the new trade route through Mid-America to get their products to Asia. That could mean dozens of new jobs.

The hope is other shippers will set up shop here. Officials are counting on this to help close the 2.3 million dollar a year deficit the airport is still running.