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Take a look inside the new Amazon Airhub in Northern Kentucky

Posted at 5:44 AM, Sep 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-03 10:07:42-04

HEBRON, Ky. — The Amazon Airhub in Northern Kentucky has been up and running for about a month, but WCPO went inside the new facility for a tour from one of the employees.

Ryan Swagler is a ramp area manager in the airhub, and she's one of the first workers to help get the air operations off the ground.

"I decided, you know, if air is where Amazon is headed, I'm going to go learn air right," she said.

Swagler learned by unloading Amazon planes in Wilmington, Ohio. Most of the new hires at the airhub don't have experience unloading planes, though.

"We were lucky enough that they gave us a practice plane," Swagler said. "So it stayed in our location and they could just practice."

Workers unload between three and five planes a day, but that could increase to 12 per shift by December. Then, the plan is to unload 22 planes per shift in January. The complex was built to handle 100 planes, and that is why the goal for the company is to hire 2,000 workers.

"They're needed everywhere actually," Swagler said. "We need them here on the ramp. So, as we ramp up to those, we have enough employees to do the planes that we have right now."

Unloading the planes starts when the plane arrives. Packages are in Unit Load Devices, which are taken to a sortation building. Once there, the packages are unloaded, and they are off on another journey.

"It's getting sorted by that destination, depending on if it's going to go on a flight, you know it's going to come over here," Swagler said.

Workers just have to put the packages on conveyor belts, which scans and determines the next place the package is sent to.

There are also autonomous robots which help the process. The robots are guided by 2D barcodes embedded in the floor.

"Hundreds of small robots are transporting packages to their next destination," Swagler said.

Construction isn't complete at the complex yet either. Several more buildings will round out this $1.5 billion addition to the Tri-State's economy.