Amazon makes more moves at CVG; expect ground to break in 2019

Company has over 1,100 acres for Prime facility
Posted at 9:27 AM, Jan 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-21 11:50:48-05

HEBRON, Ky. -- Amazon has added additional acreage near the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, a move that further cements its plans for a massive air cargo hub here, which officials say could break ground starting in 2019.

An aerial view showing where Amazon's new facility at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport would be laid out. (Provided)

In a tweet Friday, Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, said Amazon Prime Air "added 210 acres of land" as part of its planned project there. The land is privately owned but abuts a portion of the 919 acres it's already leasing from CVG where Aero Parkway meets Burlington Pike/Ky. 18. With the addition, Amazon now has 1,129 acres at its disposal for the hub.

Amazon first announced plans for the $1.5 billion facility in January 2017, which will support its growing fleet of Prime Air cargo planes.

Clark was among the many officials who took part in that initial announcement. In the months since, Amazon corporate has been tight lipped on any additional details.

"Amazon Prime Air is getting ready for takeoff in KY!" Clark said in his Jan. 12 tweet. "Just Excited for Amazon, Customers, and Kentucky!”

There's no word if the additional acreage will impact -- or increase -- the project overall. Amazon has said it will construct 3 million square feet of buildings and house more than 100 cargo planes. The hub could also bring 2,700-plus jobs to the Tri-State, although experts say that number could increase significantly, to as many at 15,000 over the course of 30 years.

"Big picture, this is their first air hub, so they're still trying to figure out, what does that look like?" said Barb Schempf, vice president of planning and development at CVG.

Schempf told the Kenton County Airport Board on Tuesday that Amazon is still under environmental review but expects to break ground in 2019. That lines up with reports in November that Amazon wanted to be operational -- or at least partially up and running -- by the year 2020. Schempf did say the hub could come online in phases. A full build-out is anticipated in the 2025-2027 time frame, CVG CEO Candace McGraw previously said.

Amazon is using existing facilities in the meantime. And the company, combined with DHL, which uses CVG as its Americas hub, has already had a noticeable impact. Bobby Spann, director of external affairs, said CVG has passed Indianapolis as the No. 7 busiest cargo airport in North America. In 2017, the airport handled in excess of 1 million tons for the first time in its 70-year history. Its December was the best on record.

While passengers may breeze over such stats, it does impact the cost of everyday travel. CVG said Amazon's expected operations will reduce landing fees, an expense that impacts all carriers at the airport.

"A rock star year with cargo," Spann said. "And I'm sure we'll continue to exceed ourselves each month."