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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Wilmington Air Park Housing Unused Planes

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Ann Thompson
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WVXU
The Wilmington Air Park is offering temporary space to airlines to park their passenger planes.

More than 20 passenger aircraft, sidelined by the huge decrease in travel, are now parked at the Wilmington Air Park, a 2.7 million square-foot facility on 1,900 acres. Even though Amazon opened a sorting facility last year and the park is now filled with tenants, there is still plenty of runway room.

In a release, Wilmington Air Park offered up the space to even more aircraft.

"Together with Airborne Maintenance and Engineering Services (Airborne), we are hoping to provide relief for airlines that have to find places to store these aircraft," said Port Authority Executive Director Dan Evers. "Airborne has existing customers with whom we are working to build stronger relationships. It is something we can do. It is a way we can help. We want to do what we can to help."

The service is not free. The Air Park says it costs $800 per aircraft per month to house a plane there.

Evers says he is working closely with LGSTX (cargo handling, ground service equipment, gateway operations and maintenance at the Air Park) and the FAA to make sure he is adhering to government guidelines and mitigating any impacts to existing customers.

All over the world airlines are looking for places to park planes. As Business Insider reports, they can't send planes to boneyards because they require regular maintenance. And the competition for hangars and airports is great, according to The L.A. Times.

"We know recovery could take a while and that things may look differently as the nation recovers. We want to preserve this community asset so it can continue to be the major employment center that it has been for decades," he says.

Ann Thompson has years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology