Amazon to open ‘air gateway’ and package-sorting facility at Wilmington

This month, Amazon announced plans to open a new “air gateway” and package-sorting operation at Wilmington Air Park. Yes, Wilmington — just sixty miles away from Amazon’s main air hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG).

Amazon Air currently operates out of more than twenty airports across the United States, with Wilmington (ILN) opening next year. The new Wilmington facility is being constructed as part of Amazon’s air gateway system – where the company leases space at airports for the sorting and forwarding of packages flown in by Amazon Air planes. In parallel, Amazon continues to build out its hub at CVG.

Clinton County Port Authority Executive Director Dan Evers said that Amazon will be adding eight flights daily, which are expected to begin in 2Q 2019. As part of the project, two of the airport’s buildings are being demolished to accommodate additional parking, truck and trailer movements, and the flow of product into a two-story sorting facility formerly used by DHL. Airport authorities are working with Amazon to make renovations to the airport’s package sorting facility, some of which include upgrading the building’s docks, making structural modifications to parts of the building, and renovating restrooms.

It has not yet been determined whether Amazon’s return to Wilmington will be temporary or long-term, or how operations at the two airports will differ. Amazon had initially considered building its Midwest hub at ILN in 2015, but instead decided to establish its $1.5 billion air cargo hub at CVG in 2017. At present, Amazon Air’s CVG operation is mostly limited to daytime use as many of the facilities are co-utilized by DHL Express, which runs an overnight operation. Long-term, as Amazon develops its CVG hub, overnight operations will become more feasible. Within a matter of months, however, Wilmington could offer greater operational flexibility.

Regardless, the development of another air sort facility for the e-commerce giant indicates Amazon Air’s growth won’t be slowing down following the recent delivery of its fortieth freighter.  Looking ahead, Amazon is widely thought to have an RFP circulating in the US for the lease and operation of at least six additional 767Fs. Cargo Facts believes that Amazon Air is also evaluating the formalization of trial air operations in Europe.

Those interested in learning more about the impact of e-commerce on air freight are invited to join us Cargo Facts EMEA, to be held 4-6 February at The Westin Grand Frankfurt. Register before 14 December to take advantage of early bird rates. To register or for more information, visit www.cargofactsemea.com.

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