FedEx Express will employ 490 at its newly expanded Ontario Airport operations.
November 19, 2020 — The gleaming structure on the northwest quadrant of Ontario International Airport (ONT) is hard to miss for anyone traveling along E Airport Drive, the culmination of a $100 million investment by FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp., and a vivid reminder of ONT’s status as a leading cargo hub in North America.
The centerpiece of the two-year transformation is a 251,000 square-foot complex which opened earlier this month and includes a sorting facility capable of handling 12,000 packages per hour. The facility also includes nine wide-body aircraft gates, 14 feeder aircraft gates and 18 truck docks.
“The opening of the new FedEx Express Ontario ramp greatly strengthens our operations and services, including our competitive position in the market and added efficiency to handle the increasing e-commerce volume coming out of the Southern California area,” said Richard W. Smith, Regional President of The Americas and Executive Vice President of Global Support, FedEx Express. “We’re proud to launch this state-of-the-art ramp operation right before the peak holiday season.”
“The Ontario International Airport Authority has been instrumental in supporting our vision for this major expansion,” said Tim Wertner, Senior Vice President, Western Division, U.S. Operations, FedEx Express. “We appreciate the airport authority’s collaboration and look forward to this exciting new chapter operating in the Ontario market.”
The redeveloped parcel of more than 50 acres is nearly triple the size of the previous space FedEx occupied and represents the most significant improvement project at ONT since the 1990s. With considerably more space and increased capacity, the operation will employ 490.
“The completion of the FedEx project – a month ahead of schedule – comes on the fourth anniversary of ONT’s transfer to local control, calling to mind how far we have come in transforming the airport into an international gateway and economic engine for Southern California,” said Alan D. Wapner, President of the Ontario International Airport Authority Commission.
Equally important, Wapner noted, is the additional revenue the long-term lease will generate for ONT.
“The ripple effect of the FedEx investment will be clear as it will enable us to make more improvements across the airport complex and build a more powerful economic force for the region.”
The shipping company’s move across the airport and the construction of modern facilities and improved infrastructure are key components of a lease approved by the Ontario International Airport Authority in June 2018, keeping the shipper at ONT for at least 30 years.
Under terms of the agreement, which includes provisions that could extend FedEx Express’s presence at ONT for up to 50 years, the airport authority cleared the 51.1 acre lot of structures above and below ground, performed surface grading and took responsibility for required environmental impact reports and analyses.
In turn, FedEx Express, which had operated at ONT for 33 years on 18.5 acres on the airport’s south side, agreed to construct operational, maintenance and administrative facilities while making needed infrastructure improvements including 170,000 square-yards of concrete for aircraft ramp and trucking operations. The improvements were to be completed by November 30.
“The launch of operations from FedEx’s spectacular facility comes at a pivotal moment as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact lives and livelihoods in so many ways,” said Mark Thorpe, OIAA’s chief executive officer.
“The global pandemic cast a bright light on supply chain participants as consumers hunkered down at home and relied on e-commerce shipments of vital household supplies, and we are proud to say Ontario has distinguished itself as a key component in the goods movement industry.”
Cargo was a point of strength for ONT before the coronavirus brought global air travel to a sudden stop in March, Thorpe noted. In 2020, however, air freight has been the lifeblood of the airport and will continue to be for years to come.
Air cargo volume increased 19% through the first nine months of the year and by 20% or more in six of those months. From January through September, freight volume was nearly 645,000 tons compared to 539,000 tons in the same period in 2019.
Development of the FedEx Express facilities and infrastructure improvements were led by Walsh Construction.