The first shipment of international cargo made its way to Williams Gateway Airport on Friday in Mesa, and business is expected to take off from there, officials said.
A twin-engine Piper Chieftain operated by John Phillips, president of Mesa’s Triton Air Charter Air Service, delivered four boxes of commercial aircraft parts to the airport at about 2 p.m. from manufacturing facilities in Guaymas, Mexico.
Although the cargo weighed just 56 pounds, officials said that the delivery is the culmination of efforts to have Williams Gateway recognized as an official port of entry by the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, establish a required cargo hold area as part of that process and promote the airport’s import and export capabilities to private industry.
"This is a significant day in the history of Williams Gateway. We were anxious to see this get started," said Wayne Balmer, Mesa’s manager of the Williams Gateway Economic Area.
After arrival, the material was placed inside cargo holds operated by Gateway Logistics de Mesa and then inspected by customs, which has a permanent office at the airport.
The cargo was expected to be taken by van to Precision Aerospace Components in Phoenix later Friday where the components will undergo finishing processes and be sent to an Indiana aerospace manufacturer, officials said.
"Now that this first shipment has been made, they should flow on a regular basis. We only see the load growing," said Rosanne Brunello, a partner in Precision Logistics LLC.
Brunello’s firm coordinated the shipment and is affiliated with the Guaymas manufacturers and the Phoenix firm where the items were to be delivered.