UPS began operations at Gary/Chicago International Airport Monday with the arrival of an Airbus A300 jet to be loaded with packages bound that night for the company's Louisville global distribution hub.
UPS and the airport entered a lease agreement earlier this year that will have a jet make the round-trip between Gary and Louisville each weekday as part of UPS's Next Day Air service.
“The beginning of UPS operations continues our long-term strategy of encouraging private investment to support our overall mission at the airport,” Airport Authority Chairman Timothy Fesko said in an announcement of the start of operations. “By offering further cargo operations service, we continue to fill our role as a critical component in the Chicago regional air system, while also serving as a key economic engine for the Northwest Indiana region.”
The UPS lease has a five-year term, with two five-year extensions possible. As part of the agreement, UPS will lease 14,000 square feet of office space in the airport’s passenger terminal; a 150,000-square-foot ramp, providing space to park two A300s; and an additional 5,800 square feet of hangar space to support operations.
"This provides GCIA with an important new tenant while also allowing the airport to enhance its vital niche in the Chicago regional air traffic network," the airport said in its announcement of the start of service.
UPS said its Next Day Air service volume is increasing as a result of growing internet-based retail, health care and small business demand. Demand for service to emerging markets overseas is also driving growth, it said.
“Chicagoland and northwestern Indiana are important markets for UPS,” said UPS Airlines President Brendan Canavan in Monday's announcement. “We’re pleased to add global air express flights from Gary, providing capacity and flexibility for businesses in the region.”
UPS anticipates employing about 60 people at its Gary facility, including ground handlers, administrative employees, aircraft maintenance technicians and managers. Some will be current UPS employees who transfer to Gary, while others will be new hires. It plans to begin hiring later this year, with available positions posted on www.upsjobs.com.
Other airport and city officials voiced enthusiasm for the start of UPS operations:
“Over the past several years the airport has steadily increased our capacity to support a large-scale operator such as UPS, and we are encouraged to see that investment pay dividends,” said GCIA Executive Director Duane Hayden. “This is a key milestone for the airport as we continue our efforts to complement the Chicago regional air system.”
"This is an exciting time for the City of Gary, our Gary/Chicago International Airport team and our friends at UPS," said Gary Mayor Jerome Prince. "When we collaborate with each other and great companies like UPS, we can truly re-imagine Gary and see the great potential we have."
“AvPORTS is very excited to have UPS begin Next Day Air Service operations at Gary / Chicago International Airport,” said Jorge Roberts, CEO of AvPORTs, the company that oversees GCIA operations. “GCIA serves a vital role for cargo traffic in the Chicago and Northwest Indiana region, and UPS’s investment in the airport secures a key partner for its future while adding needed jobs at a critical moment for our economy.”
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