Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin’s new economic development plan, which among other directives calls for growth in Atlanta’s transportation and logistics sectors, was furthered last week when Cathay Pacific Cargo, an affiliate of Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airlines Ltd., announced it will begin operating out of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport this summer.

Cathay Pacific’s decision was revealed last Friday at a press conference during which development of a new air cargo master plan was also announced.

Sharing her vision of a city that is economically sound well into the future, Ms. Franklin said, “I don’t believe we can do that without a strong air cargo component.”

Afterward, Ms. Franklin said, “Having Cathay Pacific choose Atlanta is really good for us. We’re hoping this will lead to more direct flights to the Far East.”

According to Carlos Martel, deputy commissioner of international trade for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, state economic development representatives have been courting the company for seven years.

Douglas Wahl, Midwest U.S. cargo manager for Cathay Pacific, told GlobalAtlanta that the company’s recent acquisition of six cargo planes, with another six coming soon, enabled expansion into Atlanta.

Focusing on trade with Southeast Asia, Cathay Pacific flies to 90 cities in 32 countries. The company transports everything from helicopters to live animals, Mr. Wahl said.

Craig Lesser, commission of the Economic Development Department; Sam Williams, president of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and Mario Diaz, deputy general manager at Hartsfield-Jackson, joined Ms. Franklin in welcoming Cathay Pacific to Atlanta.

For more information, contact the airport at (404) 209-2954.