The Wilmington Air Park is moving up on the cargo charts and is now number one in Ohio and 32nd nationally. Amazon is helping to fuel this increase and with or without the online giant, the Air Park looks to expand the number of airport employees and businesses.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation, the Air Park was the highest volume airport in the state for a 12-month period ending in September. COVID, the holidays and other factors have played a role, according to the Executive Director of the Clinton County Port Authority Dan Evers.
Evers says the primary benefit for the community are the employment opportunities for people in Wilmington, Hillsboro and beyond. For the airport it means more landing fees and fuel.
In 2018 it signed a five-year lease agreement with Amazon for a sorting facility and daily flights. There were no guarantees Amazon would stay beyond that.
"When we entered into our agreement, our friends at Amazon said five years is about as far out as we can forecast," Evers says. "We don't know what our network will look like. We haven't had an air operation for very long. Three years ago we didn't exist. Don't ask us what we'll be in six years."
He thinks there is a place in the Amazon network for Wilmington. "We're going to do everything we can to be persuasive about that."
Director of Amazon's Air, Safety and Operations Lacey Pittman says through the end of the year there will be 13 daily flights and tens of thousands of packages going through this facility. She says the company's central air hub at CVG will open late next year.
"Both sites support our entire air network and our business is still growing quickly," Pittman says. "There is still a need for us to manage operations out of the Wilmington Air Park site. So we can't predict the future or comment on our long-term plans but right now we are still hiring at the Wilmington Air Park."
Amazon has hired 1,500 associates in Wilmington and 500 third-party employees since 2018.
Evers is working with JobsOhio and the Dayton Development Coalition to look at opportunities for new construction that could house logistics and manufacturing businesses. He says, "Our focus right now is on finding ways to create more product so that we can be in a position to bring in more tenants."