The Bloomington-Normal Airport Authority board has approved a 15-year lease with options to 40 years with a Kansas development firm for a Federal Express-Express hub at the Central Illinois Regional Airport. MDC will be the landlord and Fed Ex the tenant for the first cargo operation since 2008 when DHL left CIRA as part of a decision to fly only international cargo. Board members say the agreement has been three years in the works. Under it, CIRA provides facilities to simultaneously handle two wide-bodied aircraft of 767 size. MDC will develop a facility for trucks outside the fence to serve Fed Ex. Airport Director Carl Olson says the public private partnership helps the community keep taxes low.
"This is a huge development, a very positive development for the community, and of course, for the airport as well. With respect to the community we're talking about new investment in the community, we're talking about construction jobs. We're talking about new tax revenue."
Olson says CIRA is still finalizing revenue estimates, which will depend on Fed-Ex traffic. The project is worth five million dollars; three million from the developer and two million from the airport. The airport has already substantially met its commitment through federal grant funded runway improvements west of the terminal to help accomodate freight traffic. The current Fed-Ex-Express hub is in Peoria. Olson says he cannot confirm that the Peoria hub would close when the new one opens in Bloomington
Support Your Public Radio Station