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Amazon Air to establish package-sorting operation in Wilmington Air Park

Amazon announced plans Monday to open a new “air gateway” and package sorting operation at Wilmington Air Park, representing a return to the busy Clinton County airport.

An Amazon spokeswoman Monday could not offer a projected number of expected new jobs at the operation. A spokesman for the state's private development corporation, JobsOhio, also could not provide a jobs number. 

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An Amazon representative said the online retailer leases space at airports for the loading and unloading of customer packages to and from the aircraft, from trucks that drop off and pick up packages, and an on-site sort area for sorting packages based on their next destination. The company calls those operations "air gateways."

“Amazon is growing its investment in the community with a gateway for their Amazon Air planes at the Wilmington Air Park as it continues to build out its air hub operation at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG),” the company said in a statement.

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A company announcement also said:

“We are excited to bring our Amazon Air operation to KILN (Wilmington Air Park) while we continue building out our central air hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport,” said Sarah Rhoads, director of Amazon Air. “We are opening an operation in Wilmington to ensure we have the capacity to continue to delight our customers.”

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For a time in 2015 and 2016, Amazon quietly established a presence at Wilmington, and there was speculation that the company might open a hub there. 

Dozens of media outlets reported rumors or speculated on what was happening at that time in Wilmington with flights through Air Transport Services Group (ATSG), which is based in Wilmington. 

ATSG’s chief executive Joe Hete told this news outlet in November 2015  his company was flying cargo through Wilmington for a client with the ATSG Boeing 767 fleet.

He declined to name that client, but by April 2016, it was revealed that online giant Amazon was positioned to become not only ATSG’s most important customer but a part-owner of the firm.

However, in early 2017, Amazon decided to build a hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport.

About 300 jobs were lost at Wilmington as a result of Amazon’s decision.

“Wilmington and Clinton County know air cargo logistics and have experience to support these operations,” said Jeff Hoagland, president and chief executive of the Dayton Development Coalition. “The revitalization of this strategic Ohio asset will compliment Amazon’s existing operations and leverage a talented, skilled workforce ready to move their products anywhere in the world.”

“We appreciate the partnership with Amazon, the Dayton Development Coalition, the Wilmington Air Park, and local officials to bring Amazon Air to this attractive asset,” John Minor, JobsOhio president and chief investment officer, said in Amazon’s announcement on Monday. “Amazon’s investment demonstrates the continued confidence it has in Ohio’s talent and will boost the long-term value of the Wilmington Air Park for future job creation.”

Questions about the scope of the company’s planned presence in Clinton County were left with an Amazon spokeswoman. 

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