RENO, NV - The big Boeing 767 bearing the logo of the air cargo carrier Amerijet taxied to the Air Cargo terminal Tuesday morning under an arching spray from the water cannons on two of the airport's fire trucks.
A water salute, it turns out, is a tradition in commercial aviation, a way of marking a special occasion--a pilot's retirement or, in this case, an inaugural flight.
Today it was the airport and the business community's way of welcoming Amerijet to town.
In their view, the arrival represents a positive benchmark for economic development.
"Products are being are being shipped out of here. Products are coming in here," says airport CEO Marily Mora. "and it's just reflective of I think a good barometer of a turn in our economy locally."
Air cargo, of course, is nothing new at Reno/Tahoe. But Amerijet aims at a different client and cargo than FedEx or UPS.
"Big stuff," says Amerijet President Dave Bassett. "I mean we're not carrying little packages. We're carrying big boxes. And those big boxes sometimes need to move fast and a truck is sometimes just too slow."
Amerijet flies between its eastern hub in Columbus, Ohio and Reno. Cargo on either end is then trucked to its final destination.
On today's flight there were helicopter parts flown in from Ohio that will finish their journey by truck and will be in Seattle by tomorrow morning.
Tomorrow it could be a shipment headed for the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center or a piece of equipment needed fast by a mining company.
A nice service if you're doing business here or even considering it.
"It's something that's needed in the community to attract large businesses, manufacturing businesses," says Jeff Lynch, president of ITS Logisitics..
And while all this is being portrayed as good news for economic development, there may be an upside for the traveling public as well.
"The money they bring in helps offset the cost to passenger carriers so it really helps us overall to attract air service, passenger service," notes Mora..
That's potentially good news for those who fly out of Reno/Tahoe, but have seen a number of flights cut over the past several years.