CINCINNATI — Amazon will invest more than $1.4 billion in a new air cargo hub for its Prime Air service at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), officials announced Tuesday afternoon.
The fleet of 40 leased cargo jets currently based in Wilmington is expected to be on the move to the new hub beginning in April, according to reports.
The new CVG hub is expected to mean 2,700 jobs.
Clinton County Business and Economic Development Director Bret Dixon said Tuesday afternoon he learned the news earlier in the day on a conference call. The sorting facility Amazon is planning to establish will be at CVG, Dixon summarized.
He said Amazon officials indicated they were looking for an option that would get them to their goal fast. They used the expression “plug and play,” Dixon said.
It has always been Amazon’s desire to run its own sorting facility, added Dixon.
Dixon said he is disappointed by the choice of CVG, but he and other local officials will continue to work with Amazon.
Though CVG is in Kentucky, Dixon said the State of Ohio “was fully engaged” on the possibility of the hub being located here.
“We did everything we could proactively,” Dixon added.
He said the State of Ohio appears to have been “blindsided” by the announcement Tuesday.
“To say I am disappointed by today’s news from Amazon is an understatement,” Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) said in a statement late Tuesday afternoon. “I have always been confident that the state of Ohio and the people of Clinton County have done everything in their power to make Wilmington an attractive and hospitable place for not only Amazon, but other companies as well.
“Wilmington has never been about one company. We are about our people, and our people make us strong. Our state has made tremendous strides over the past several years to diversify our economic environment to ensure that companies, small and large, can continue to view Ohio as a place to do business.
“I am incredibly proud of the unmatched workforce of the people of Wilmington,” Rosenberger added. “Clinton County has always been resilient in the face of adversity, and I look forward to working with state and local elected officials and business leaders in the hopes that we can move past this unfortunate news and continue to spur economic growth in our region of Ohio.”
US Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Upper Arlington) said, “Since DHL left the airpark, Wilmington has made tremendous strides in bringing in new jobs and rebuilding the local economy. While Amazon ultimately did not choose to further invest in Wilmington, the community continues to hold a competitive advantage and opportunity to attract and grow businesses. I stand ready to be a resource and vocal advocate as they work to be a leading community to live, work, and raise a family.”
The State of Kentucky and Boone County are expected to approve $40 million in payroll tax incentives, according to reports.
Dixon added that Amazon found out how good Wilmington Air Park and Wilmington-based Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) workers are in cargo logistics and related fields, and that Wilmington Air Park operations made it easy for Amazon to get in the air freight business.
Other local businesses poised to grow will continue to grow and flourish despite the announcement, Dixon said.
“That’s what we do, we keep moving,” said the economic development director.
Clinton County Commissioners President Kerry R. Steed stated, “Although Amazon making an investment at CVG is disappointing, Wilmington and Clinton County have learned from the past and no longer hang our hope on the goodwill of one company. After DHL left, our priority was to diversify our corporate base, provide expansion opportunities for existing companies and welcoming new companies to our community.
“Even without Amazon locating its facility here at this time we have over 400 jobs that need to be filled within the county,” said Steed.
The commissioner said he has confidence Amazon.com will continue to utilize the area’s most valuable resource, “the people of Clinton County.”
Comments from ATSG’s CEO and President Joe Hete were not immediately available. ATSG provides air cargo transportation and related services to domestic and foreign air carriers and other companies that outsource their air cargo lift requirements.
Through its principal subsidiaries, including two airlines, ATSG provides air cargo lift, aircraft leasing, aircraft maintenance services, and airport ground services.