Air carrier expands its partnership with Port of Huntsville, adds flight to Brazil

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)-- Air carrier Panalpina is expanding its partnership with the Port of Huntsville through an additional flight to Brazil.

Tuesday, an Atlas 747-400 made its maiden voyage to Viracopos, Brazil, one of the main cargo airports there. It carried freight that came to Huntsville from Hong Kong.

Matthias Frey, Senior Vice President of Panalpina and head of airfreight with the company, said, “We are connecting the world from one continent to the other through right here in Huntsville, Alabama.”

“Anything that’s positive for Panalpina is now positive for Huntsville because their home is Huntsville," commented Jana Kuner, PR Manager for Huntsville International Airport.

The Atlas 747 is capable of carrying 115 tons, or roughly 250,000 pounds of cargo on one flight to Brazil.

"It's really something special," said Frey, remarking about how the plane allows for quick loading and unloading because crews can access the plane through the nose and from the side.

Panalpina used to have a flight to Brazil years ago, but had to do away with it. Now, it's back. Frey said it's because customers "demand" it and he's glad they were able to do this in partnership with the Port of Huntsville.

“It means for our customers, speed, security, it means faster to the market," he said.

The direct service from Huntsville to Brazil is mainly designed for companies that ship and manufacture heavy machines and equipment, such as those for agriculture and mining.