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Going hog-wild to revive cargo in Wilmington, Ohio.

The town of Wilmington, Ohio, with just 12,000 people, took a hit when DHL closed its U.S. hub there in 2009. At its peak, the company employed 9,000 people.

"The loss was very troublesome, and the community is still recovering," Kevin Carver, executive director of Wilmington Air Park, says. "We are engaged every day trying to redevelop the Air Park."

After it left, DHL donated the airport and much of the grounds to the Clinton County Port Authority. The Port Authority is responsible for the creation of jobs in Wilmington, which is in Southwest Ohio, about halfway between Columbus and Cincinnati on Hwy. 71. Columbus and Cincinnati are each 50-60 miles (80-96 kilometers) away from Wilmington.

DHL's former property became the 1,900-acre Wilmington Air Park.

The Air Park, which has two parallel runways of 9,000 feet (2,743 meters) and 10,701 feet (3,261 meters), is close to a major highway system. Because there are no passenger jets, it's also relatively easy to get into and out of the airport due to the low volume of air traffic, Carver says.

The Air Park has quite a few tenants, including Air Transport Services Group, an air cargo transportation provider for air carriers, and its subsidiaries, cargo airlines ABX Air and Air Transport International. There is also an MRO provider.

"We have a very robust agriculture community. There are a lot of agribusinesses that are engaged in raising livestock," Carver says. "There's been a lot of work done on genetic background of these animals, if you will, to ensure they're strong, healthy stock."

In the last year, the Air Park has had an increase in special cargo, predominantly livestock purchased in Southwest Ohio. There is a quarantine facility five miles (eight kilometers) down the road from the Air Park.

Hogs make up much of the livestock, and they travel on 747Fs and MD-11Fs to Brazil, China, Russia and Poland.

Wilmington Air Park also sees aviation-related cargo and equipment, Carver says.

Today, the Air Park employs 1,100 people, a little more than one-tenth what DHL had employed.

Adina Solomon

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Title Annotation:Around the world: Americas news
Comment:Going hog-wild to revive cargo in Wilmington, Ohio.(Around the world: Americas news)
Author:Solomon, Adina
Publication:Air Cargo World, International ed.
Geographic Code:1U3OH
Date:Aug 1, 2014
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