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DALLAS-Lufthansa Cargo is including two weekly direct freighter flights to Mexico City and adding a fourth weekly route to Frankfurt, Germany, building in additional marketing muscle for the record number of industrial developers mining the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport’s grounds. Although the extra flights didn’t precipitate construction, they open marketing doors for the 2.2 million sf of under construction space.

The carrier will add the Mexico City flights in January. “Direct service to and from Mexico City on Lufthansa Cargo strengthens DFW’s cargo business,” Joe Lopano, DFW’s executive vice president of marketing and terminal management, says in a press release issued this morning. “The very strong North Texas economy is fueling the market and robust cargo growth is bringing DFW more international service and opportunities for expansion.”

Third-quarter market reports from all brokerage houses peg DFW airport’s 58.9-million-sf inventory as this year’s leader in absorption. According to Grubb & Ellis Co., the submarket has filled 3.14 million sf to date and 1.5 million sf just in Q3. At the quarter’s close, the pocket’s vacancy was 10.2% or 5.7 million sf; quoted rents ranged from $4.89 per sf to $7.62 per sf.

Lufthansa Cargo has reported more than 22% growth in cargo tonnage in the first eight months of this year versus 2006. The uptick is credited, in part, to North Texas’ steady economic growth.

With the airport’s cargo trade as an anchor, developers are building mostly spec space on the ground-leased land. The development fervor has trickled over to neighboring submarkets, causing a buzz across the region about the amount of rising space. Market readings vary because of differing calculation methods, but researchers say there is at least 16 million sf of industrial space under construction–and it’s overwhelmingly spec.

Lufthansa Cargo’s route expansion sets up direct links for North Texas, Mexico City and Frankfurt, one of the world’s largest hubs with tentacles that reach as many as 192 destinations in 78 countries. Lufthansa Cargo is planning two non-stop routes between Frankfurt and DFW and continuing on to Mexico City before returning to DFW and back to Frankfurt. It also will schedule two flights from Frankfurt to DFW and back. The carrier has assigned MD-11F freighters to the routes, each with a capacity of about 85 tons.

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