ROCKFORD, IL. UPDATE: September 12, 2016. The first ABX Air B767 freighter flight landed at Rockford airport at 4 am on September 09 from Ontario, Canada and left for Charlotte, North Carolina a couple hours later.
On August 30 ABX, part of the Air Transport Services Group that is providing 20 B767 freighters to Amazon, announced it was to begin a daily B767 U.S. domestic cargo service to Rockford International Airport (RFD) beginning September 08.
At the time, the airport declined to say where the aircraft would be coming from or going to, and who the customer would be – other than the pick up and delivery catchment is 90-180 minutes from the airport and the service could grow to five flights a day by the end of the year.
Amazon operates four Illinois warehouse and fulfillment facilities within that catchment area. The company also has four similar centers in North and South Carolina two hours or less by truck from Charlotte.
"This is exciting news for our region as it will create jobs and continue to put RFD on the map for our exceptional cargo operations," commented Mike Dunn, RFD executive director. ABX Air will be renting a 72,000 square foot warehouse (right) for an initial one-year period.
Terminal and ramp handling for the airline will be provided by Pinnacle Logistics: "It is my opinion that this airport is the best prepared airport in the Midwest and in the ideal location to grow international cargo business," declared CEO Tom Wheeling. "I can honestly say that we have experienced extraordinary cooperation and help from the staff of RFD to ramp up this operation at a high speed to prepare for the flights."
Meanwhile 450 miles further east at Rickenbacker International Airport, 10 miles from Columbus, Ohio, Morrison Express has begun using a 90,000 sq.ft. container freight station for its new LTL truck service.
"When it comes to freight, turnaround time is everything, and both our clients and airline partners rely on seamless and expedited processes. Rickenbacker is an optimal distribution location for many global brands," said Tony Medeiros, vice president and general manager of the Americas for Morrison Express.
According to Morrison, locating at Rickenbacker enables the company to deliver freight via LTL truck to 70 percent of the U.S. and Canadian population within two days. Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Cargolux operate all-cargo flights into Rickenbacker several times a week.