Pilot seeks to launch cargo carrier at BWI


A former Pan Am pilot, hoping the air cargo business will fare better than the passenger side of the industry, wants to launch a new cargo carrier at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

Steven H. Klein, the president of Phoenix Air Freight Inc., has registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and hopes to begin selling 1 million shares at $6 a share within the next two weeks. The stock, he said, would be sold through Capital Securities Development Group, an investment banker in Clearwater, Fla.

Initially, Phoenix would fly two Boeing 727-200 freighters twice a week, using Mr. Klein and five other pilots. Mr. Klein and the five pilots were laid off when Pan American Airlines went out of business in December 1991.

"Things are still pretty rough out there for pilots," said the 42-year-old Mr. Klein, who was a first officer on a Boeing 727 when Pan Am shut down. "We believe this will be a very successful venture. All the forecasts show an upswing in air cargo business."

Pending approval from federal transportation agencies, Phoenix could begin by Dec. 1, in time for the holidays, he said. The airline would handle general cargo but focus on transporting textiles, seafood, and raw and unfinished goods to and from the Caribbean area.

Phoenix would become the newest service at BWI's air cargo center, which is adjacent to the passenger terminal. The center is served currently by six regularly scheduled all-freight companies in addition to charter planes.

In recent years, the volume of air freight at BWI has declined steadily because of the recession and competition from other airports, particularly Washington's Dulles International. During the first three months of this year, however, cargo volume at BWI increased 4.5 percent, reflecting a growth in international business, according to airport officials.

The cargo center at BWI is located in the fourth-largest consumer area in the country. It is accessible to rail service, several interstate highways and the port of Baltimore.

Mr. Klein said his new company wanted to operate out of BWI, in part, because its cargo center was underused.

"That means we would have less taxi delays in and out of the airport," he said. "And that means a big difference in savings."

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